Never Change, NW division. Never change.

Graphic Comments
March 06 2013 09:37AM

Feast or famine

Wow. There really is no middle ground in the Northwest Division, is there?

Whether it's in the standings, with the Canucks pretty much feasting on the talent starved rest of the division, or in the front offices, where you could never accuse any of the GMs of being underfed, but sometimes it sure seems like they've starved their brains of oxygen.

That's right: it's feast or famine in the Northwest. (Yeah, I went there. Deal with it.)

This last week was no exception...

Just when you thought Jay Feaster couldn't prove himself more inept, he went out an signed restricted free agent, Ryan O'Reilly, to an offer sheet. Nothing wrong with that, in and of itself. In fact, I'm sure there were plenty of Flames fans out there planning the celebratory feast when it was announced. Even when Colorado quickly matched, there was at least a sense that the Flames front office was trying.

But those feelings of self-satisfaction were short-lived.

On Friday morning, Sportsnet broke the news that O'Reilly would have had to clear waivers before he could suit up for any team other than Colorado because he had played two games in Europe after the start of the NHL season on January 19. Just like that, the team and it's fans were once again starving for some sort of hope.

But hey, there's plenty of blame and embarrassement to go around on this one.

Just down the Rockies from Calgary, Avs GM Greg Sherman shouldn't be feeling too smug about this one. After all, he's the one that left his best centre out there to get offer-sheeted. Sure, the Avs always the the right to match, but Sherman should have learned from David Poille's experience with Shea Weber that if someone actually signed ROR, the offer sheet would likely be structured in a way that was extremely inconvenient for him to match. And sure enough, the two year deal effectively blows up Colorado's salary structure when it expires.

So yeah, maybe it's the altitude, but Sherman's brain may be a little starved for oxygen as well. Luckily for him, Jay Feaster is around to make the rest of the GMs in the division look good. Maybe we need a new #fancystat to apply to front office staff:

StupidityRel

That being said, there may be one GM in the Northwest that even Jay Feaster doesn't make look good. I mean, it's still early but has anyone noticed how Ryan Suter is quietly turning himself into the most overpaid player in the NHL? We laughed at the contract Feaster threw at Dennis Wideman, but compared to Suter, it was chump change:

Didn't think it could happen

Like I said, it's still way too early to judge the suter signing. Heck, we have another 13 years to comment on it. But the early returns are rather underwhelming. And while I wouldn't seriously compare Suter (a legit top-pairing defenseman) with Wideman (usually just a top-4 guy), it's interesting to note that both players are getting top pairing minutes but Suter is the worst possession D on his team (-5.2 CorsiRel) while Wideman is doing pretty well (7.3 CorsiRel) all things considered.

Sure, Suter is playing some tough minutes in Minnesota, but remember, he's getting paid $100 million! That's what you pay a dominant defenseman, not somebody that can be unfavourably compared to Dennis Wideman.

Anyway, Feaster also picked up Brian McGrattan from the Predators this past week. Predictably, this set off an arms (or is that fists?) race in western Canada. First to respond, uncharacteristically, was Mike Gillis, who picked up noted pugilist, Tom Sestito, to replace the departed Aaron Volpatti. But at least Gillis didn't expend any assets to add Sestito, picking him up on the waiver wire. 

The same can't be said for Steve Tambellini in Edmonton. The Oilers gave up a conditional 4th round draft pick for hirsute winger, Mike Brown. Sure, this addition does nothing to address the Oilers' real needs, but let's not that get in the way of the dominant narrative:

That's right. Your bottom six guys don't need to try and score. I'll try and keep that in mind when the dominant narrative shifts to the lack of secondary scoring...

Anyway, this revelation totally ruined this chart laying out the conditions that would boost the draft pick up to the 3rd round:

Conditionally offensive

On the bright side for the Oilers, Brown is a Don Cherry favourite, so this trade should get them way more exposure on Coach's Corner every Saturday night.

This is actually long overdue, given the obvious relationship between Don Cherry and the team's namesake:

Oilers are Don Cherry's new favourite team

And that's to say nothing of the petroleum products those suits are made of.

I want to finish off with the Canucks, who did most of their blundering on the ice in the past week. Even there, the feast or famine motif continued, with a great outing against the streaking Kings on Saturday night, followed up by a listless loss to Feaster's hapless Flames on Sunday. Sure it was a brutal travel day, but not as brutal as the Canucks' performance when they finally got to Calgary.

I'm not sure you can pin it all on the defencemen, but with Kevin Bieksa back out of the line-up, Alain Vigneault opted to sit Keith Ballard yet again and went with Cam Barker instead. I'm not sure how or why Ballard found himself in Vigneault's dog house yet again, but Barker is worse and he bites: 

His Barker is worse and he bites

So yes, it was quite a week in the Northwest Division, and hopefully it really never does change. While we might be starved for action on the ice, there's a veritable smorgasbord of entertainment off of it!

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#1 Ravo
March 06 2013, 09:48AM
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Fist of all

you made no mention of Feaster's interpretation of the ROR situation,

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#2 GXL
March 06 2013, 09:49AM
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Thanks for the overview of "This Week in the North West"...

It still amazes me how someone like Mark Spector can draw an audience. He was a terrible writer with the Journal and even worse colour commentator for Sportsnet. I remember his ant-Satan articles back in the 90's. You would thought he worked for the Catholic church. Even back then he was complaining how Satan was "soft" and wasn't a good fit for the young Oilers. We needed Byan Muir. Things worked out great.

GXL

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#3 GXL
March 06 2013, 09:52AM
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Whoa... thought I would pull a "Spector" and misquote the trade. It was Satan for Millar and More... My bad.

GXL

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#4 Phixieus666
March 06 2013, 09:58AM
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Ya I just don't even know what to say about this today.

THE OILERS LOST TO THE FREAAKIN JACKETS.

Hey tambo wake the F*ck up. Your team lost to the worst team in the league, your team is falling faster than the sh*tty vets on the team. Its called a purge and it needs to happen ASAP. MOVE THE VETS OUT.

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#5 TonyDanzaPervo
March 06 2013, 09:59AM
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Between this and Lowetide's article saying how MGMT hasn't negotiated with Smid yet on a contract extension plus Brown getting 11+ mins, handling of injuries (Eberle pronounces self ready to play, Nuge shoulder...) I think I may need a drink; every minute of every day; until the pain goes away. As I am not going to cheer for another team, safe to say I'll be dead from alcohol poisoning soon

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#6 Shredder
March 06 2013, 10:04AM
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Yeah, I can't stand spector anymore. He thinks his opinion counts for something. It doesn't.

As to the NW division: it is quite frankly the worst division in hockey. With the realignment coming, you get some perrennial top teams added to it, making life even tougher for my lowly Oilers.

How about last night's game against CLB for famine for the Oilers: they're starving for wins and can't get one against the worst team in the league.

I've heard a lot of chants to get rid of the coach, and I certainly would like to see a guy like Ruff there. I also always like to give a GM several years to make an impact, however Tambelini has been around for almost 5, he's burned through coaches and taken this team to the top spot in the draft too many times.

Further famine: my desire to see the Oilers in the playoffs.

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#7 OilersBrass
March 06 2013, 10:09AM
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So does anyone else think the Brown trade was pointless after watching last nights game? The kids were being pushed around and bullied more than any other game i've watched this season.

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#8 ScottieA
March 06 2013, 10:16AM
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At first I thought that Tambellini was left off of the Stupid vs. StupidRel chart, but then realized that he would be placed higher on it than Sherman and Feaster. An outlier as it were.

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#9 ScottieA
March 06 2013, 10:19AM
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Wait... Cam Barker still has an NHL career???

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#10 geoilersgist
March 06 2013, 10:26AM
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Do not tell DSF that Suter and the Wild are sucking. Anyhow I had a good chuckle while reading this then I cried...

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#11 Phixieus666
March 06 2013, 10:36AM
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OilersBrass wrote:

So does anyone else think the Brown trade was pointless after watching last nights game? The kids were being pushed around and bullied more than any other game i've watched this season.

Seriously man, the guy hasn't even had a chance to practice with the team yet and he still managed to play 11 mins, most hits on the team and didn't hurt the team. He probably doesn't even know all their names yet man.

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#12 justDOit
March 06 2013, 10:37AM
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Further to the RoR signing, the Flames would have had to PAY the $2.5M signing bonus for this season as soon as the contract was official - and THEN put him on waivers.

Sherman is just as much to blame for his ignorance of this new rule though. He should have told RoR's agent that he can't trade him because of those two KHL games he played. So either negotiate in good faith with this team, or be prepared to sit - you have NO hand in this matter. No hand.

A good article here on managerial slip-ups:

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/53011/great-debacles-in-nhl-history

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#13 Shane
March 06 2013, 10:43AM
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Hey look at that! The Oilers are only 3 points out of a playoff position, oh wait, I mean 'TRADE EVERYONE!!, FIRE EVERYONE!!'

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#14 ScottieA
March 06 2013, 10:52AM
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@Shane

They're also 3 points from the bottom, tracking downward.

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#15 Phixieus666
March 06 2013, 10:54AM
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Shane wrote:

Hey look at that! The Oilers are only 3 points out of a playoff position, oh wait, I mean 'TRADE EVERYONE!!, FIRE EVERYONE!!'

They are also only three points out of dead last, whats your point??????

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#16 The Other Ron Burgundy
March 06 2013, 11:02AM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Seriously man, the guy hasn't even had a chance to practice with the team yet and he still managed to play 11 mins, most hits on the team and didn't hurt the team. He probably doesn't even know all their names yet man.

I'm all for patience, but I didn't like him turning down the scrap with Boll. New team, liberties being taken, nobody else doing anything (as usual) - isn't fighting Boll exactly why you were hired?

On the plus side, I did find his speed a nice surprise. Reserving judgment - for now.

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#17 The Beaker
March 06 2013, 11:09AM
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geoilersgist wrote:

Do not tell DSF that Suter and the Wild are sucking. Anyhow I had a good chuckle while reading this then I cried...

Nevermind Talon and the Panthers...

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#18 andrewmk20
March 06 2013, 11:10AM
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@geoilersgist

Don't worry about him, he'll create many plausible excuses as to why Suter isn't playing well to comfort himself. His right toe in his skate is too tight, the curve in his stick is shaped funny, his helmet makes a distracting squeaking sound, his teammates keep yelling stuff at him during games, etc.

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#19 Phixieus666
March 06 2013, 11:11AM
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The Other Ron Burgundy wrote:

I'm all for patience, but I didn't like him turning down the scrap with Boll. New team, liberties being taken, nobody else doing anything (as usual) - isn't fighting Boll exactly why you were hired?

On the plus side, I did find his speed a nice surprise. Reserving judgment - for now.

On the fighting front the Oilers were up 3-2 at that point. There was no need for him to fight. It would be better served to play the pest at that point. I thought he should have fought when it was 3-3 and they didn't seem to have anything going however. But I think at that point he was stapled to the bench while Kruger tried getting the offense out as much as possible.

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#20 OILERSORDEATH
March 06 2013, 11:21AM
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Jesus just watching LA makes me wish "why couldn't our Oilers be like that!". They had a bad gane in Casuck land but destroyed Nash and St.Louis after that. And they dont even have there two toughest D-man back from injury yet. Still blows me away Doughty has no gaols yet and he's getting paid 7 mill Per!! Sh!t!! Maybe he needs a change of scenery eh?? Doughty and Penner to Edm for Hemmer, Jeff Schultz and our First? is that an over pay or is that fair?

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#21 justDOit
March 06 2013, 11:25AM
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@OILERSORDEATH

Doesn't matter about Doughty - some guy named Jake Muzzin is killing it from the back end for the Kings.

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#22 Phixieus666
March 06 2013, 11:32AM
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OILERSORDEATH wrote:

Jesus just watching LA makes me wish "why couldn't our Oilers be like that!". They had a bad gane in Casuck land but destroyed Nash and St.Louis after that. And they dont even have there two toughest D-man back from injury yet. Still blows me away Doughty has no gaols yet and he's getting paid 7 mill Per!! Sh!t!! Maybe he needs a change of scenery eh?? Doughty and Penner to Edm for Hemmer, Jeff Schultz and our First? is that an over pay or is that fair?

Whos this Jeff Schultz that plays for the OIL????

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#23 Spydyr
March 06 2013, 11:34AM
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Lindy Ruff isn't busy. He forgot more about hockey then Tambo knows. Just saying.

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#24 DSF
March 06 2013, 11:43AM
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geoilersgist wrote:

Do not tell DSF that Suter and the Wild are sucking. Anyhow I had a good chuckle while reading this then I cried...

Minnesota is 3 points out of the NW division lead and is 5-4-1 in their last 10 games while being in a tie for the last playoff spot.

Ryan Suter is tied for 6th in scoring among NHL defensemen despite playing on a team that needed some games to find chemistry due to huge roster turnover.

But don't let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

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#25 DSF
March 06 2013, 11:50AM
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The Beaker wrote:

Nevermind Talon and the Panthers...

Missing first line centre....Weiss.

Missing first line winger....Versteeg

Missing second pairing winger...Upshall

Missing top pairing defenseman...Kulikov

Missing second pairing defenseman for 9 games Gudbranson

Missing third pairing defenseman...Jovanovski

Missing starting goaltender...Theordore

Otherwise, things are easy in Florida.

And still only 2 points back of the high flying Edmonton Oilers.

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#26 OILERSORDEATH
March 06 2013, 11:56AM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Whos this Jeff Schultz that plays for the OIL????

Haa! My bad! Nick not Jeff.

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#27 Oilfred
March 06 2013, 11:59AM
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DSF wrote:

Minnesota is 3 points out of the NW division lead and is 5-4-1 in their last 10 games while being in a tie for the last playoff spot.

Ryan Suter is tied for 6th in scoring among NHL defensemen despite playing on a team that needed some games to find chemistry due to huge roster turnover.

But don't let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

True 3 points up on Edmonton.

How about those panthers? Tallon looks like he screwed the pooch on Bergenhiem.

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#28 dougtheslug
March 06 2013, 12:00PM
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What I find puzzling is why Sherman would swoop in and match Feasters offer sheet in the middle of the Flames- Avs game. Why such haste? He had a week to mull it over, and maybe let the revelation that ROR would have to clear waivers, likely to be claimed by the BJ's, costing Calgary a first,and third pick, 2.5 mill, AND ROR, be the juices that Feaster would have to stew in! Why not let Feaster (who Sherman seemed to be peed off at) sweat and then extract a concession or two from Calgary (another draft pick or a salary dump) and then graciously let Calgary off the hook at weeks end?

Was Sherman as ignorant of the rules as Feaster? Or are we talking collusion of some sort? Anyway, I'd rather be thinking about that stuff than the Titanic of a disaster called the Oil, which is currently plowing into a succession of icebergs like a drunk driver bouncing off parked cars.

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#29 Oilfred
March 06 2013, 12:02PM
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DSF wrote:

Missing first line centre....Weiss.

Missing first line winger....Versteeg

Missing second pairing winger...Upshall

Missing top pairing defenseman...Kulikov

Missing second pairing defenseman for 9 games Gudbranson

Missing third pairing defenseman...Jovanovski

Missing starting goaltender...Theordore

Otherwise, things are easy in Florida.

And still only 2 points back of the high flying Edmonton Oilers.

Sure glad the Oilers never have players out.

That would suck to deal with.

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#30 Oilfred
March 06 2013, 12:04PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

What I find puzzling is why Sherman would swoop in and match Feasters offer sheet in the middle of the Flames- Avs game. Why such haste? He had a week to mull it over, and maybe let the revelation that ROR would have to clear waivers, likely to be claimed by the BJ's, costing Calgary a first,and third pick, 2.5 mill, AND ROR, be the juices that Feaster would have to stew in! Why not let Feaster (who Sherman seemed to be peed off at) sweat and then extract a concession or two from Calgary (another draft pick or a salary dump) and then graciously let Calgary off the hook at weeks end?

Was Sherman as ignorant of the rules as Feaster? Or are we talking collusion of some sort? Anyway, I'd rather be thinking about that stuff than the Titanic of a disaster called the Oil, which is currently plowing into a succession of icebergs like a drunk driver bouncing off parked cars.

I think he felt that the picks we're not fair value for the player plain and simple.

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#31 dougtheslug
March 06 2013, 12:09PM
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Oilfred wrote:

I think he felt that the picks we're not fair value for the player plain and simple.

Still, why not wait? If only for the comedy value?

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#32 DSF
March 06 2013, 12:15PM
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Oilfred wrote:

Sure glad the Oilers never have players out.

That would suck to deal with.

Sure thing.

Would be like missing Hopkins, Hall, Hemsky, Petry, Smid, Schultz Sr., Schultz Jr. and Dubnyk.

I'm sure the Oilers would be just rolling along under those circumstances.

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#33 dougtheslug
March 06 2013, 12:19PM
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Shane wrote:

Hey look at that! The Oilers are only 3 points out of a playoff position, oh wait, I mean 'TRADE EVERYONE!!, FIRE EVERYONE!!'

I admire your optimism. But: Detroit, Nashville, Colorado, Chicago up next. Any odds that they are running that particular table? After watching the last two games, I'm wondering if they will ever win again. Years of watching this team does that to a person.

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#34 Oilfred
March 06 2013, 12:20PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Still, why not wait? If only for the comedy value?

I like the way you think. No he had to get him in they need him.

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#35 DSF
March 06 2013, 12:20PM
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Oilfred wrote:

Sure glad the Oilers never have players out.

That would suck to deal with.

You mean like Horcoff?

LOL.

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#36 Oilfred
March 06 2013, 12:23PM
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DSF wrote:

Sure thing.

Would be like missing Hopkins, Hall, Hemsky, Petry, Smid, Schultz Sr., Schultz Jr. and Dubnyk.

I'm sure the Oilers would be just rolling along under those circumstances.

Are you says those are players of equal value?

Would anyone make that trade?

Look everyone, I just caught a troll!

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#37 He Who Knows
March 06 2013, 12:24PM
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Keep selling out the games at Rexall and watch the utter BS of an organization that the Oilers have become. Tambellini and Lowe are frauds. They have given the fans false promise. Hey Mr. Katz or Bob Black or whoever gives a flying bleep, clean house upstairs, then clean house downstairs (RK has no clue wtf he is doing either) and bring in some people with brains and a whip,not an Al Pacino motivation speech. No more propaganda. There is an awakening in this town and while some of us saw how incompetent Lowe was years ago, the rest are now getting on board. Oilers fans do not deserve this. Also next time..DO NOT START FIRES ON WHYTE AVE during a playoff run (i bet it was a bunch of losers who aren't fans anyways but they blended in and, the hockey gods are still making us pay for it). You Think Vancouver is going to make the finals again?? Those idiots burnt down the city twice, and Montreal is still paying for burning the downtown area after they won the CUP! Goodluck.

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#38 dougtheslug
March 06 2013, 12:30PM
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He Who Knows wrote:

Keep selling out the games at Rexall and watch the utter BS of an organization that the Oilers have become. Tambellini and Lowe are frauds. They have given the fans false promise. Hey Mr. Katz or Bob Black or whoever gives a flying bleep, clean house upstairs, then clean house downstairs (RK has no clue wtf he is doing either) and bring in some people with brains and a whip,not an Al Pacino motivation speech. No more propaganda. There is an awakening in this town and while some of us saw how incompetent Lowe was years ago, the rest are now getting on board. Oilers fans do not deserve this. Also next time..DO NOT START FIRES ON WHYTE AVE during a playoff run (i bet it was a bunch of losers who aren't fans anyways but they blended in and, the hockey gods are still making us pay for it). You Think Vancouver is going to make the finals again?? Those idiots burnt down the city twice, and Montreal is still paying for burning the downtown area after they won the CUP! Goodluck.

The only fires that are going to started on Whyte Av in the next 10 years are effigies of Lowe and Tambo. Playoff celebrations? Are you kidding?

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#39 jay
March 06 2013, 12:34PM
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I'm just curious, if O'Reilly was lost by Calgary to waivers, who would of been responsible for the $3.5 milllion(?) signing bonus? Calgary, on top of the lost draft picks?

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#40 DSF
March 06 2013, 12:49PM
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@Oilfred

They are of equal value to their teams.

Who was suggesting trades?

If you believe the Oilers players are so superior, perhaps you can also explain why the Oilers are a mere 2 points ahead of an injury depleted Panthers team.

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#43 Rig 99
March 06 2013, 01:48PM
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guess im going to buy center ice and watch some other teams

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#44 Sanaa Montana
March 06 2013, 01:54PM
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Spector is a goof.

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#45 DSF
March 06 2013, 01:56PM
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Graphic Comments wrote:

One, if you're concerned about the facts, I should probably also tell you that the graphs are not to scale.

And (b) $100 million.

(III)

Really?

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#46 Bruner
March 06 2013, 01:57PM
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OilersBrass wrote:

So does anyone else think the Brown trade was pointless after watching last nights game? The kids were being pushed around and bullied more than any other game i've watched this season.

Rome wasn't built in a day. We will all notice Brown in due course.

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#47 The Soup Fascist
March 06 2013, 02:07PM
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DSF wrote:

Missing first line centre....Weiss.

Missing first line winger....Versteeg

Missing second pairing winger...Upshall

Missing top pairing defenseman...Kulikov

Missing second pairing defenseman for 9 games Gudbranson

Missing third pairing defenseman...Jovanovski

Missing starting goaltender...Theordore

Otherwise, things are easy in Florida.

And still only 2 points back of the high flying Edmonton Oilers.

So signing and trading for old and or injury prone players is acceptable if your name is Dale Talon?

Suppose he should not have been run for that little oversight of not sending offer sheets to 3 RFAs in Chicago either?

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#48 vetinari
March 06 2013, 02:38PM
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Gentlemen... gentlemen... Let's just agree that ALL of the Northwest GMs had eaten idiot sandwiches this week and move along to the real issue... can we set odds at which of the five GMs will be the first to be fired by his respective team? I would give Feaster and Tambellini even odds on that one...

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#49 justDOit
March 06 2013, 02:48PM
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So is an article by 'Graphic Comments' a new theme here, whereby formerly known writers now hide in anonymity, like all of us mouth-breathers?

Comments are closed for this article.