GDB 01: THE WAIT IS OVER...

Jason Gregor
January 20 2013 12:12PM

 

Is Ralph Krueger yelling, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls are you ready?"

After 288 days that included watching other teams compete for the Stanley Cup, drafting Nail Yakupov, winning the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, being frustrated by another lockout and being teased by the success of Schultz, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall in the American League, the Oilers will finally play another meaningful NHL game, and Krueger will step behind the bench for the first time with the title of head coach.

All those factors, along with being the last fan base in the NHL to see their team play, have pushed the excitement level in OilersNation off the charts. Even the most pessimistic fan can't wait to see if Ralph Krueger's new system will generate more victories and a spot in the post-season for the first time in seven years.

Oiler fans are dying to cheer for a winner. Since the glorious, stunning and surprising Cup run of 2006 Oiler fans have had to watch their team lose 297 times. You've watched 492 Oiler games since the start of the 2006/2007 season and you've only seen 195 victories.

I'm amazed many of you still have the intestinal fortitude to buy tickets, or go the places like The Pint off Whyte, Pint Downtown or On The Rocks to watch a game or just sit at home and spend countless hours yelling at the TV. I tip my hat to your dedication.

God bless your loyalty and ability to continue cheering for the Oilers. Your devotion might finally pay off this season. I guarantee the Oilers will be better than last season. I know that's not saying much considering they were 29th, but it's true.

The important question is how good can they be? We won't know for a few months, but this season should be the most exciting regular season in a long time.

LINE UP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Horcoff-Hartikainen
Eager-Belanger-Petrell

Krueger has used these four lines since day one of training camp, and he's expecting all of them to contribute. The Oilers might finally have two legitimate scoring lines, and if they top-six produce like many expect they should, then everyone else's job becomes easier.

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

I'm very surprised Mark Fistric isn't dressed tonight, but I expect he'll be in the lineup soon. The Oilers can't expect to win with only one physical D-man. And please, don't say Detroit did it because they didn't. Kronwall and Stuart are two of the best open-ice hitters in the game. I assume that Krueger wants more puck movers against the Canucks, but will add Fistric against a group of big forwards like San Jose and LA. That's just a guess though.

Dubnyk
Danis

Cory Schneider was brutal last night for Vancouver, giving up five goals on 14 shots. The Canucks defensive and neutral zone coverage was horrendous as well, but Schneider needed to make some stops. Dubnyk can't afford a start like that. Dubnyk is extremely confident and told me that he's aware of all the critics and would love nothing more than to prove them wrong.

Reports out of Vancouver mentioned that Alain Vigneault planned to start Schneider v. the Ducks and Roberto Luongo v. the Oilers. Will he stick with that, or does he want to get Schneider back in the pipes ASAP. Vigneault is in a tough spot. If he starts Luongo and he plays well, then what. If he starts Schneider and he gets blown out again, then what?

I love goaltending controversies...It will be very interesting to see what Vigneault does, and if that decision was correct.

THE TRADITION RETURNS

 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Canucks will be fired up after last night's 7-3 spanking by the Ducks, but the Oilers youth will be just as amped up to play. "I expect our guys to be revved right up. Their excitement is rubbing off on me. I don't think I've ever been this excited for the first game of the season," Nick Schultz told me on Friday. Expect lots of offence and the Oilers win 5-4.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Justin Schultz scores the Oilers first goal, on the powerplay on a nice pass from Nugent-Hopkins. Instantly fans believe is the chosen one and Wanye starts plans for a Schultz photoshop contest.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eric Belanger scores in the second period on a nifty feed from Ben Eager. For a brief moment OIler fans sit in silence, unsure of what they've seen, but seconds later they'll be delirious with excitement about the possibility of having a fourth line that can contribute.

PARTING SHOTS

  • Instead of driving yourself crazy looking at your watch/clock/phone every two minutes wondering why it isn't 7 p.m. yet, take a few moments and enter the FIRST ANNUAL NATION draft. It is $20 bucks to enter, with a portion of proceeds going to charity. First place is a $5,000 shopping spree at United Cycle. How &**@*()@ awesome is that. Click here to sign up. Great cause, lots of fun chirping other Nation readers and there will be over 100 prizes. So hurry up and enter. Deadline is Saturday.
     
  • Do you want to go to the home opener? I'm having a contest on The Jason Gregor Show facebook fan page today. Predict who scores the Oilers first goal, in what period and at what time and you'll be going to the Oilers home opener on Tuesday.  It will be closest time without going over. If you choose 10:15 and someone chooses 10:13 and the goal happens at 10:14, the person with 10:13 wins. Good luck. You have to LIKE the page to be eligible. If you submit your choice here it won't be valid to win.
     
  • After the game tune into TEAM 1260 as Jason Strudwick  hosts the post-game show. He'll have some great insight into what transpired tonight. Once the game is over, tune in or call and vent/praise at 780.426.8326 or 1.800.243.1945.
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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 positivebrontefan
January 20 2013, 06:42PM
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I'll be fifty FIST to say Canucks will suck tonite.

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#52 Dog Train
January 20 2013, 07:03PM
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There's nothing like panic in VanCity. Gotta love them chanting Lulu's name last night after basically booing him out of town. Time to add to their misery!

Oilers come out flying and win 4-3. Goals by J. Schultz, Nuge and 2 by Ebs. Hall with 3 assists. GO OILERS GO!!

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#53 Dan the Man
January 20 2013, 07:10PM
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SUCK IT CANUCKS!!

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#54 Uhoh!
January 20 2013, 07:12PM
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Has anyone else got no sportsnet 10 mins to gametime? As in a black screen where sportsnet should be? Making me really nervous... The second half of the calgary game was gone for me as well.

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#55 Dan the Man
January 20 2013, 07:16PM
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Uhoh! wrote:

Has anyone else got no sportsnet 10 mins to gametime? As in a black screen where sportsnet should be? Making me really nervous... The second half of the calgary game was gone for me as well.

It's working fine for me.

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#56 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 07:19PM
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ITS GAME DAY BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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#57 Uhoh!
January 20 2013, 07:21PM
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@Dan the Man

Yes!! Shaw came thru, i got it. Let go oilers!

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#58 black screen
January 20 2013, 07:22PM
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whats with the black screen ? :( this is a cruel joke

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#59 Dan the Man
January 20 2013, 07:27PM
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What the hell happened to the rest of the Canucks anthem singer?

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#60 vetinari
January 20 2013, 07:28PM
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Make Vancouver eat Orca, Oilers!

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#61 justDOit
January 20 2013, 07:29PM
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After 288 days without the Oilers, I'll be happy with a competitive effort against a good team. Remember, this is a young team on the road guys.

OT loss for the Oilers 4 - 5.

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#62 Dan the Man
January 20 2013, 07:29PM
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Canucks are already in mid-season diving form.

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#63 positivebrontefan
January 20 2013, 07:29PM
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Funny watching the Anthem singer crap himself at the end of the song there.

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#64 Alsker
January 20 2013, 07:31PM
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WTF...only 2 comments on Cansucks nation and both of us bleed copper and blue...did someone drive the band wagon into the ocean???????

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#65 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 07:37PM
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Got excited about the give away in van zone until I seen it was horcoff... If it was eberle that woulda been in no problem.

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#66 Thumby
January 20 2013, 07:39PM
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Just hooked up my 65" Panasonic gt50 plasma purchased specifically to watch OIler domination,

Game On!

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#67 Dennis
January 20 2013, 07:45PM
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EFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#68 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 07:46PM
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What a softie

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#69 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 07:46PM
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Damn potter

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#70 Thumby
January 20 2013, 07:47PM
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Grrrrrr

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#71 vetinari
January 20 2013, 07:48PM
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Dubnyk is in fine form to kick off the season... apparently a giant's five hole is really a ten hole...

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#72 6 ring circus
January 20 2013, 07:58PM
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The Oilerss have to buy out Horcoff this summer !!!

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#73 Lofty
January 20 2013, 08:12PM
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I'll take 1-0 after the 1st. The boys should settle the nerves and be square at the end of the 2nd. Yak started well.

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#74 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 08:13PM
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@Lofty

Yup, nothing wrong with that opening period.

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#75 Oilfan69
January 20 2013, 08:31PM
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wait katz goes to home games in Vancouver ? :)

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#76 Dennis
January 20 2013, 08:32PM
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Crap, stupid Luongo! That was a nice shot by J Schultz.

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#77 Dennis
January 20 2013, 08:34PM
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Man it's painful to see Horcoff on the PP. Jesus!

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#78 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 08:48PM
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Gagner caught looking at Daniel instead of covering his guy

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#79 Lofty
January 20 2013, 08:51PM
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2nd goal was more on Whitney than Yak. As a D you can't go from one side of the ice to the other without touching anyone. Combination of errors but not all on Yak as the announcers suggested.

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#80 Dennis
January 20 2013, 08:58PM
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SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#81 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 08:59PM
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EBERSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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#82 m3sh
January 20 2013, 09:01PM
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@Lofty

Agreed, once he saw Yak follow him around the end boards, he had no need to leave the center ice to Kassian.

Eberle. Is. Gold.

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#83 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 09:03PM
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Emperor eberle on pace for 48 goals!! One of those goals only eberle can score

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#84 Oilfred
January 20 2013, 09:03PM
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Amazing goals by the wonderkind. Watching a canucks feed JG blames Lou for the bad angle goal.

Its called SNIPE douche bag.

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#85 justDOit
January 20 2013, 09:15PM
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That last-second goal by Eberle is the definition of 'sustainable shooting percentage'.

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#86 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 09:33PM
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Diving teams do what they do!

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#87 The Soup Fascist
January 20 2013, 09:33PM
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What is with Petry suddenly hammering guys? Good to see, having a nice game. I would like to see Hall and Ebs on PK.

Who is this ref? Just looks like a knob.

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#88 The Soup Fascist
January 20 2013, 09:37PM
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Random thought #17.

Why do Krueger and Tambo like Potter so much? He has been terrible. Fistric could NOT be worse.

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#89 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 09:41PM
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HEMSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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#90 The Soup Fascist
January 20 2013, 09:42PM
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Louuuuuuuuuuuuu ..........ser

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#91 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 09:43PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Random thought #17.

Why do Krueger and Tambo like Potter so much? He has been terrible. Fistric could NOT be worse.

Actually, I think Potter has been doing pretty good.

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#92 Reg Dunlop
January 20 2013, 09:44PM
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Kassian celebrating getting duked by very Eager. What a chucklehead.

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#93 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 09:46PM
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Hemsky out of nowhere

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#94 The Soup Fascist
January 20 2013, 09:48PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Actually, I think Potter has been doing pretty good.

Maybe I am bitter that Fistric is sitting. Thought he screened Duby on the first one and fell on the last PK, tripping over his own feet.

I will try to be a bit more objective, though.

And yes Kassian is a chucklehead.

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#95 vetinari
January 20 2013, 09:49PM
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Eager showing some grit and heart... Hemmer finally shooting thoughtout the game... what the heck happened to these guys before the game? Krueger must be a heck of a "communicator"...

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#96 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 09:51PM
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What Im taking from this game is that I dont think the kids are ready to play PVP yet, but hey thats just me eh...

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#97 Czar
January 20 2013, 09:54PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Kassian celebrating getting duked by very Eager. What a chucklehead.

Like there aren't enough reasons to hate the Canucks,add one more D Bag!

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#98 Clyde Frog
January 20 2013, 10:07PM
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GAGNER!!!

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#99 The Soup Fascist
January 20 2013, 10:09PM
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Definite

Shootout

Failures

........finally figured out what it stands for!

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#100 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 10:09PM
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Undefeated oilers in January!!! How does that sound!!

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