GDB 47.0: Spoiler?

Jonathan Willis
April 26 2013 05:21PM

The Oilers are in something of an interesting position tonight. If they win, they can put a serious crimp in the Minnesota Wild’s playoff ambitions, playing the role of late-season spoiler. However, they can only do so by damaging their draft position.

The Stakes

The three-team playoff race in the West is most likely to end with the Blue Jackets falling just short. With a win tonight, the Wild could guarantee themselves a playoff berth. However, should the Oilers win in regulation, the Wild’s playoff chances drop from 90.4 percent down to 71.3 percent, while the Blue Jackets’ chances jump from 30.8 percent to 44.3 percent.

Yesterday, we considered the Oilers’ draft position needs; four of the teams the Oilers are in competition with for the second overall spot were in action. Unfortunately for the Oilers, all four lost; only Carolina (overtime loss to the New York Rangers) picked up a point. The relevant standings are as follow:

A win would slide the Oilers from fifth down to seventh in the pre-lottery draft rankings, which would undo part of the one and only benefit from all of their recent losing.

Memory Lane

It isn’t exactly the same situation, but the dilemma reminds me a little of the one the Oilers faced in 2006-07. The team had spectacularly collapsed following the trade deadline move of Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders; in the 20 games leading up to the final contest of the year they failed to managed even one regulation win – they had two shootout victories and 18 regulation losses over that span.

But they managed to overcome a 2-0 deficit at the midway point of the game, scoring the next three goals and winning the contest on Patrick Thoresen’s third period tip-in. The win gave the Oilers 71 points, tying them with Chicago. The Oilers had the tie-breaker, though, so entering the draft lottery they held the sixth overall pick while Chicago had the fifth selection and the final one with a chance at first overall.

Chicago won the draft lottery, and ended up picking Patrick Kane first overall. The Oilers still ended up with a pretty good player – Sam Gagner – in the sixth overall spot, but it was a pivotal moment in the history of both franchises.

The Lineup

Via the Oilers’ official Twitter feed, here are the lines for tonight’s game:

  • Taylor Hall – Shawn Horcoff – Nail Yakupov
  • Magnus Paajarvi – Sam Gagner – Jordan Eberle
  • Ryan Jones – Eric Belanger – Anton Lander
  • Ryan Smyth – Jerred Smithson – Mike Brown
  • Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • Nick Schultz – Corey Potter
  • Mark Fistric – Justin Schultz
  • Nikolai Khabibulin

Quick Hits

  • Jason Gregor was supposed to write this piece. Apparently, he’s “too busy” with “raising money to fight Alzheimers” to fulfill his blog-writing responsibilities. I'll let the readers decide where that rates on the jerk scale.

  • Jason was nice enough to pass along this encouraging statistic: “Backstrom is a perfect 17-0 at home vs. Oilers with a 1.34 GAA, a .948 save pct., and four shutouts. Wow.” He didn’t finish that comment with ‘have fun explaining why anybody should expect anything other than another humiliating Oilers loss’ but I think that was implied.
  • Taylor Hall would seem to have some chance at an extra $2 million in bonus money if he has a strong finish to the season.
  • The Justin Schultz/Nick Schultz pairing has gone minus-6 against the Wild this season; no other player on the team is worse than minus-3. Maybe it’s a good thing Krueger is splitting them up.
  • This might be the last game Nikolai Khabibulin ever plays for the Oilers, with Devan Dubnyk set to start tomorrow and Khabibulin’s contract expiring this summer.

Predictions

Game day prediction: The Oilers will lose a dull and one-sided game, falling by a 3-1 score.

Obvious game day prediction: The Oilers goal will be scored by Nail Yakupov, and after the game he’ll disappointedly say, “I don’t care about the goal, I just want to win.”

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: The Oilers’ second pairing will have a surprisingly good night, as Corey Potter plays well and Nick Schultz is much-improved when separated from Justin Schultz. Potter will pick up an assist on the Yakupov goal.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Eddie Shore
April 26 2013, 08:41PM
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@DSF

If you've admitted defeat it might be wise to be humble as opposed to being obnoxious

Pot, meet kettle.

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#2 @Oilanderp
April 26 2013, 09:57PM
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The Oilers scored 6 times as many goals as the Wild. If we take half of double of that then that is SIX TIMES as many goals. If you counted them in order it would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6!

Suck it DSF. Suck. It. Suck it Minnesota.

Now I have to go to a muffin appreciation website and tell the people there how muffins suck. Every. Single. Day.

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#3 dougtheslug
April 26 2013, 07:34PM
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I can't resist. Hey DSF, Yak has now tied Huberdeau for rookie goal scoring and rookie points. Have a nice day.

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#4 Dangilitis
April 26 2013, 11:44PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:
If you've admitted defeat it might be wise to be humble as opposed to being obnoxious

Pot, meet kettle.

Haha... I will take this further. DSF, you remind me of the prototypical pompous ass who repeatedly puts others down to stroke their own ego and make himself feel better about their own blatant inadequacies as a human being. Oilers fans are generally known for their knowledge base and open discussions, but you have nothing meaningful to contribute. Minny went all out this year and are becoming the new NYR. My parents taught me at a young age that humility is a virtue, and clearly that is something that you value but know nothing of. Why you have not been asked to leave this site is beyond me, but it would make literally everyone else who reads this site ecstatic if you receded into oblivion.

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#5 Dog Train
April 26 2013, 02:35PM
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I'm in the let's win to spite Minnesota camp. We have the high-end pieces so I am not too worried about where we pick in the draft. Barkov would be nice but I would be fine with a Ristolainen or Monahan.

Hoping to win and expecting to win are two different things though. This team hasn't shown the courage to expect anything less than another lacklustre, boring hockey game tonight. 4-1 Wild.

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#6 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
April 26 2013, 05:12PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

It'll screw up Minny's season though, what if they missed the playoffs cause of us?

i hope it happens just so DSF disappears for a few weeks in hopes we all forget his "the wild are conference champion contenders" rant at the start of the season.....

alas, i think the wild win and get 7th... ~7th is the same as conference champion contenders right~????

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#7 John Chambers
April 26 2013, 07:53PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I can't resist. Hey DSF, Yak has now tied Huberdeau for rookie goal scoring and rookie points. Have a nice day.

Guess what? Jonas Brodin is -4 after two periods. Just saying'.

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#8 Darrell
April 26 2013, 08:45PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:
If you've admitted defeat it might be wise to be humble as opposed to being obnoxious

Pot, meet kettle.

Cheers Brother - DSF is a joke!

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#9 Where's Your Towel
April 26 2013, 01:59PM
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Forget (more) tanking. There's a slim chance we finish ahead of Calgary.

Making the playoffs this year was pretty unlikely all along. I just wanted to beat Calgary for a change.

Please.

I REFUSE TO "CHEER" FOR MORE LOSING.

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#10 Darrell
April 26 2013, 08:00PM
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DSF wrote:

Wow!

Based on tonight's game, I'd offer Khabibulin and Potter 5 year contract extensions too.

Man up - Minny blew it dude .....

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#11 Sailge
April 26 2013, 08:01PM
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Tied for rookie scoring lead. ~Why is Nail even playing in the NHL he's no good~

Haha. Way to go, Yak

P.S. Brodin -4

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#12 NewAgeSys
April 26 2013, 08:19PM
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Parise needs to be disciplined,he was kicking with his skates.

How many games is that supposed to be,tell me that isnt intent to injure?Isnt that the most dangerous play in hockey?

If he had opened someone up for 100 stitches we wouldnt be so easygoing about that.

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#13 OILERSORDEATH
April 26 2013, 08:20PM
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@ DSF Suck my ass DSF!!Wooooooo!

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#14 Darrell
April 26 2013, 08:22PM
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DSF wrote:

If you've admitted defeat it might be wise to be humble as opposed to being obnoxious.

The Oilers are a very bad hockey team and one win based on ridiculous percentages doesn't change that at all.

Shots on goal are currently 37-16.

A team that gets outshot by that margin will lose 99 games out of 100.

This just happens to be the 1 percent.

Cheers to your free agents Jacky!

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#15 SLAM
April 26 2013, 08:39PM
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DSF wrote:

The Oilers offensive juggernaut had a 5-3 for a full 2 minutes.

They got ZERO shots on goal.

Minnesota had 38 shots and had ZERO goals for their $100 million dollar players!!

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#16 Spydyr
April 27 2013, 06:29AM
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DSF is never wrong.Even when he is wrong.There is always some excuse.Sad actually.

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#17 Dulock
April 26 2013, 01:57PM
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Had the Oilers lost that game to Calgary (in regulation) they would have been 4th with Washington 5th and Chicago 6th. If the lottery went to 5th in that situation we would've picked 5th and taken Gagner or Alzner, Washington would've picked first

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#18 striatic
April 26 2013, 06:54PM
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Alsker wrote:

Just got home..WTF...im excited but not sure if Im happy, damn draft positioning.

a win puts Edmonton ahead of Calgary going into the last game of the season.

draft positioning is important, but finishing ahead of Calgary is more important.

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#19 SLAM
April 26 2013, 07:24PM
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michael wrote:

4-0 Oiler haters.Minny is getting rolled.Love to see them out of the playoffs. 129 million dollars of see ya next year.

But... Minnesota was supposed to be NW division champs...

Brodin -4 lol

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#20 Darrell
April 26 2013, 07:55PM
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Where is DSF? this is the best thing that could happen!

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#21 darrell
April 26 2013, 08:07PM
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DSF wrote:

Blew what?

Did they have a bad game, sure.

Will Backstrom have a .400 SV% going forward?

No.

Will the Oilers win games when they are outshot by a 2-1 margin?

No.

Enjoy the Dead Cat Bounce while you can.

It doesn't mean a thing.

Six bounces you clown!

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#22 Time Travelling Sean
April 26 2013, 08:40PM
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@DSF

Yea you could really sense the urgency on that 5 on 3.

Shots or no the shots we did get were Grade A chances. Are we a better team then Minny right now? No, but we were better tonight, and when Minny had to dig deep they lost 6-1. Put that on the coach, or the captain, or the guys in the room.

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#23 2004Z06
April 26 2013, 10:05PM
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keilan wrote:

Minny clinches against Colorado and we draft further down the line.

Get your licks in to what end?

Yes Keilan we draft one spot lower...It's a deep draft. They will likely trade the pick this year anyway. I would rather have the players fight til the end and lose one draft spot than intentionally tank and continue to foster this losing culture!

Not every fan in Edmonton celebrates failure and thinks you should be rewarded for it! Are you one of the guys at the bar on draft day celebrating the number one pick? Thats not something to be celebrating!

The DSF thing is just a bonus!

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#24 Quintana
April 26 2013, 10:17PM
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DSF wrote:

The Oilers offensive juggernaut had a 5-3 for a full 2 minutes.

They got ZERO shots on goal.

Brodin -4..............suck that and shut up!!!!!!!

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#25 GVBlackhawk
April 27 2013, 12:34AM
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Jasmine wrote:

And Oilers fans prove why players won't sign in Edmonton by cheering for losses prior to game 1 of the season. Some Oilers fans are the worst in NHL history.

Dear Mr. Willis,

Can you please address this Jasmine character?

As managing editor of Oilersnation, I feel that it is your responsibility to uphold a certain standard of commentary on the blog. The continuous detritus being spewed from the keyboard of this Jasmine character is beginning to sully the reputation of the entire site.

His diatribe is nonsensical and is only meant to incite anger and insults. This kind of poster is best suited for the TSN comment section or Hockeybuzz.

I fully support the idea of contrasting opinions. If he wants to defend Kevin Lowe or any other person, that is just fine. However, he crosses the line when he starts to make bold claims about Oilers fans' actions. For example, in the past week alone, he has disparaged Oilers fans for preventing UFA signings, burning Chris Pronger's baby's crib, and running players, coaches, and managers out of Edmonton -- all without giving one shred of evidence to support his statements.

Enough already.

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#26 Spydyr
April 27 2013, 10:11AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

You guys make it sound like we are stuck drafting Marc Pouliot. We won, it was enjoyable and much needed for the TEAM. Get over it. We are still going to get a good prospect.

Big picture.Some people just don't see it.

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#27 Harlie
April 26 2013, 02:06PM
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Jasmine wrote:

And Oilers fans prove why players won't sign in Edmonton by cheering for losses prior to game 1 of the season. Some Oilers fans are the worst in NHL history.

Boo hoo...the poor poor hockey players and their hurt feelings. How can I look myself in the mirror for calling these guys out and their pathetic efforts?

Your right, I guess it's the fans fault why the Oilers suck. Not the players or Lowe's fault. Not their fault at all. It's all on us fans.

Seriously, are these guys your heros or something?

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#28 Time Travelling Sean
April 26 2013, 04:22PM
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Ducey wrote:

Huh? The time to win is in game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. Not some meaningless game where a win will do more bad than good.

It'll screw up Minny's season though, what if they missed the playoffs cause of us?

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#29 michael
April 26 2013, 07:20PM
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4-0 Oiler haters.Minny is getting rolled.Love to see them out of the playoffs. 129 million dollars of see ya next year.

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#30 Romanus
April 26 2013, 07:33PM
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Jasmine wrote:

And Oilers fans prove why players won't sign in Edmonton by cheering for losses prior to game 1 of the season. Some Oilers fans are the worst in NHL history.

Do you just cut and paste every day?

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#31 jonny94
April 26 2013, 07:34PM
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Give Yakupov the Calder!

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#32 Darrell
April 26 2013, 08:32PM
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DSF wrote:

If you've admitted defeat it might be wise to be humble as opposed to being obnoxious.

The Oilers are a very bad hockey team and one win based on ridiculous percentages doesn't change that at all.

Shots on goal are currently 37-16.

A team that gets outshot by that margin will lose 99 games out of 100.

This just happens to be the 1 percent.

Cheers to your free agents and Clutterbaby Jacky!

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#33 Darrell
April 26 2013, 08:37PM
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DSF wrote:

The Oilers offensive juggernaut had a 5-3 for a full 2 minutes.

They got ZERO shots on goal.

Must have been Suter earning his playoff money .... LOL

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#34 Klima's Mullet
April 26 2013, 08:54PM
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I have never cheered for the Colorado Avalanche...but tomorrow I want them to channel their inner Sakic and pump the Wild. Maybe that would keep you know who quiet til October when he'll be peddling some pile of steaming BS that Minny will win their division.

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#35 **
April 26 2013, 09:06PM
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The ultimate vengeance against the WIld, to spoil their playoff bid. Might just happen.

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#36 keilan
April 26 2013, 09:22PM
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Darrell wrote:

Stick around and you will understand ....

Not everyone that comes here thinks like you. It's about the Oilers at the end of day not someone posting here that you'll never meet.

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#37 dougtheslug
April 26 2013, 09:59PM
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madjam wrote:

I remember a club that had three fairly recently , and waisted 2 of them on A.Plante and R.Nash . I think that was the year they took Gagner first ?

Yeah, that was brutal. Whiffed on the likes of P.K.Subban, David Perron, Wayne Simmonds. Still, in 2003, LA had 3 first round picks and ended up with Dustin Brown(good), Brian Boyle(now a depth dman with NY Rangers), and Jeff Tambelini(played 4 games for LA, now in Swiss league).Calgary, if they were drafting today, would pick 5th, 23rd, and 29th.My money is on one hit, one foul ball, and a swing and a miss.

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#38 Cheap Shot Charlie
April 26 2013, 10:40PM
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@DSF

Why don't you have your own late night show? No one is as funny as you and can engage the crowd like you!

I love you, man! *HUG*

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#39 Chuck Norris
April 26 2013, 11:25PM
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So i was at this game with my 10 year old. We are from winnipeg and are both die hard oiler fans. The first two periods were decent but the third was typical oiler give up hockey. Despite draft ramifications, i was happy they won since i don't get to see them live very often.

I have to say though, the fans in minny were really behind their team. I do think that it was a mistake of the announcer to declare to the crowd "win and we're in. It did seem that the wild players were gripping their sticks too tight for the first and by the end of the period it was all but over.

The most impressive thing for me was my son's trash talking ability. He is only 10 but was booing the wild and putting some of the wild fans in their place. One guy in particular was sitting behind us and asked us how it felt to be fans of a team that sucked. My son turned to him and asked him "why there were not stanley cup banners in the rafters like at rexall? Nevermind, i think i know". After potter scored his second goal, my boy turned to the guy and said " he got two goals. You guys really suck." When it was 6-0, he turned to the guy and said " you are being pretty quiet. Do you want to borrow my dad's jersey so you have something to cheer about?". This kid is awesome. I was laughing most of the game. :)

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#40 The Soup Fascist
April 27 2013, 03:29AM
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I may be way off base here, but I am getting the sense that there are some folks on Oilers Nation that aren't totally on board with the opinions offered by the posters known as "DSF" and "Jasmine".

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#41 pelhem grenville
April 27 2013, 07:06AM
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...monohan...draft him...horton...offer sheet him...ryan miller for dubnyk jones tuebert and a second ...sign our [other] goalie one year minimum salary...sell the farm for weber

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#42 Walter Sobchak
April 27 2013, 09:44AM
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The Oiler's winning that meaningless game was a real kick in the pills organizationally.

Instead of drafting a much needed two way center with elite skill, we have to trade up to get that pick.

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#43 Jeffff
April 27 2013, 10:12AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Yes,sure was a tough win.

Don't think I have ever cringed before when the Oilers were scoring sweet goals.

The last time the Oilers won a game late in the season that they should have tanked they drafted Gagner .The draft pick they should have had was Kane.

Now we may have to watch Calgary take Barkov one spot ahead of us .Then for the next 8-10 years play against us.

You read articles on these players form an opinion based on the authors writing ability. And this opinion becomes fact in your mind.

You probably never have seen Barkov play live or on TV.

Shake

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#44 james_dean
April 26 2013, 12:52PM
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nsogdp

down 3 0 heading into third the oil have a massive comeback led by horcoff 2 gagner 2 and magnum1 5_3 win

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#45 Time Travelling Sean
April 26 2013, 12:54PM
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If there ever was a game to win this one is it. We'll lose though, 4-1.

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#46 Racki
April 26 2013, 01:02PM
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I think there is a better chance we draft first overall 10 years in a row than beating the Wild tonight. Book a loss.

I also have been "monitoring" things, and I think there is a decent chance the Oilers drop to 3rd last. A loss tonight and vs. Vancouver would help that. Nash has to get 1 point vs. Columbus (kind of unlikely, and Tampa has to be Florida (very likely).

I would say it's extremely likely we finish 4th last, and still fairly likely to finish 3rd last. Now the lotto might bump us back down, however... but hellloooo Barkov!

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#47 Ducey
April 26 2013, 01:11PM
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•Ryan Jones – Eric Belanger – Anton Lander

As a third line? Ouch. And Bulin in net? And Horcoff #1 C??

That should secure the loss. Nice work RK.

Go Wild!

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#48 Ducey
April 26 2013, 01:15PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

If there ever was a game to win this one is it. We'll lose though, 4-1.

Huh? The time to win is in game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. Not some meaningless game where a win will do more bad than good.

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#49 freeze
April 26 2013, 01:19PM
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We can all hope this is Khabibulin's last gasp.

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#50 Jetfan
April 26 2013, 01:31PM
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Remember back in the day when the Oil selected Yakupov, everyone was saying how he must be so relieved that he didn't have to go to Columbus? Those were the days indeed.

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