GDB 1.0: THE RETURN OF THE JETS

Jason Gregor
October 01 2013 12:04PM

 

The Winnipeg Jets return to Rexall place for their first regular season game since March 29th, 1996. The Oilers haven't lost to the Jets at home in 17 years, the longest undefeated timeline in franchise history. Who cares that they haven't played since then, the fact is the Oilers haven't lost to them. 

The team you cheer for hasn't made the playoffs in seven seasons, longest active drought in the NHL, so you should embrace any winning streak, regardless of the technicalities.

Opening night is the best night for any fanbase, and the Oilers have been pretty damn good in home openers and season openers.

The Oilers will begin their 34th NHL season tonight at Rexall Place and they will open up a season for the 3rd time against the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers defeated the Jets 4-3 on October 10th, 1985 and tied them 3-3 on October 6th, 1990.

Historically the Oilers are very good in season openers, 19-10-4, and they are equally solid, 19-9-5, in home openers. They are even better, 18-6-3, in season openers at home, so if you play the odds it is a good bet to go with the Oilers tonight.

The Oilers will have eight new faces in the lineup tonight: newly-anointed captain Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, Luke Gazdic, Anton Belov, Will Acton, Jesse Joensuu, David Perron and Jason LaBarbera. If you include Marc Arcobello, who only played one game, almost half of their roster is new.

Add in Dallas Eakins and Keith Acton behind the bench, and the Oilers should be a vastly different team than last season.

The good news is that for the first time in four years the Oilers didn't get younger. Acton, Belov and Gadzic will play their first NHL games tonight, but they are 26, 27 and 24 respectively. All of the Oilers young players are a year older, and as Eakins pointed out on the first day of training camp, this is not a young team anymore.

After five consecutive seasons of top-ten picks, it is time to see some results on the ice. The Oilers need to start showing the potential that fans have patiently been waiting for.

LINEUP...

Smyth-Hall-Hemsky
Perron-Arcobello-Eberle
Joensuu-Gordon-Yakupov
Gazdic-Acton-Brown

Ference-J.Schultz
Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-Belov

Dubnyk
LaBarbera

JETS...

Ladd-Little-Wheeler
Kane-Scheifele-Setoguchi
Wright-Jokinen-Frolik
Tangradi-Slater-Thorburn

Enstrom-Byfuglien
Bogosian-Trouba
Stuart-Postma

Pavelec
Montoya

QUICK HITS...

  • Eberle led the NHL in preseason points with eight, and his linemate on most nights, David Perron, was tops in goals with five. Those two need to bring that production to the regular season and help the Oilers get off to a good start. If the Oilers can tread water until Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner return.
     
  • The Oilers got some good news today, as Gagner said he is hoping to return in five weeks. He lost four teeth, and had six screws and one metal plate put in the left side of his jaw. It wasn't wired shut, and that is why he could return sooner than the original two months prognosis.
     
  • Nugent-Hopkins was put through a fast-paced, intense skate after the morning skate. He is moving well, and he is pain free while shooting. Once he gets clearance for contact, he could return within 10-14 days.

  • Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Gagner, Smyth and Nick Schultz were named alternate captains today. If that isn't an NHL record for most alternate captains, it must be close. Eakins said they will rotate the "A" every game and the training staff knows the rotation.
     
  • I was a bit surprised Ladislav Smid wasn't in the top-six, but ultimately I'm not sure it matters. Smid plays a simple game, and I don't expect him to play any different without a letter on his jersey.
     
  • Hockey coaches and parents, as you get set for another season of minor hockey take a moment and read what George Kingston feels is necessary for young kids to be doing in practice and games. Smart man.
     
  • I've felt Ference was the right choice as captain for a long time. This interview with Ryan Rishaug just confirms that. Ference recognize that he can do more with his status of NHL player, than just play hockey. Excellent stuff.

LOOKING AHEAD....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers excel in season/home openers and they'll continue that trend tonight with a 4-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Perron continues his red-hot preseason scoring by adding two goals, one of a nifty redirection. Gadzic drops his gloves in a spirited first period scrap with Chris Thorburn.

NOT-S0-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After five months of reading and hearing he is washed up Smyth scores on a goal mouth scramble. Even the most ardent Smyth-hater cracks a smile, because for one night, Smyth is a go-to guy again. The best part about the first game of the season is that it gives every fan hope for a brighter season, and Smyth has become the player many are cheering for. Edmonton fans love to cheer for the blood and gut type player, and on this night Smyth rewards your loyalty.

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
Avatar
#151 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:45PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Oh check that .815

Avatar
#152 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 10:46PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

And there's number two.

Avatar
#153 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 10:46PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Defence would be good boys

Avatar
#154 Gkpoil
October 01 2013, 10:46PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

DUBNYK F#CKING SUCKS!!~!!!!

Avatar
#155 Harry
October 01 2013, 10:50PM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers

Eakins should be fired for the amount of icetime Smyth got tonight

Avatar
#156 EP
October 01 2013, 10:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers

New GM, new coach, a bunch of new players, same uncanny ability to give up a 2 goal lead. Some things never change.

Avatar
#157 Rod from Viking
October 01 2013, 10:54PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Mark Lee should stick to the Calgary Stampede,what an anti-Oiler.

Avatar
#158 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 10:55PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

We already want Eakins fired!? It's game 1

Avatar
#159 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:58PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

Well Oilers aren't in first place anymore. Looks like they still need a starting goalie.

Avatar
#160 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:58PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

I said 70 comments ago how this so reminded me of most of the regular season of '06, BUT Dubnyk is a better goalie than we had back then(I hope), but this is one we deserved and needed. .815SP is totally unexceptable, how do you bag skate a goalie?

Avatar
#161 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 01 2013, 11:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

Should be interesting to hear what Eakins has to say post game.

Avatar
#162 Rocket
October 01 2013, 11:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Well that game was something that happened.

I was going to list all the good and bad things I saw but I think those are obvious.

Instead I'm gonna go have a drink and forget about this game. Go get them next time boys.

Side note: Why does Mark Lee have such a hard on for Trouba? Is Lee from Winnipeg?

Avatar
#163 Cheap Shot Charlie
October 01 2013, 11:01PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

I usually stick up for Dubnyk, but there were 3 goals that he needed to get.

Avatar
#164 k
October 01 2013, 11:01PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers
Alsker wrote:

I said 70 comments ago how this so reminded me of most of the regular season of '06, BUT Dubnyk is a better goalie than we had back then(I hope), but this is one we deserved and needed. .815SP is totally unexceptable, how do you bag skate a goalie?

When Smyth is playing 1st line minutes you bag skate the coach

Avatar
#165 Dog Train
October 01 2013, 11:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Well it didn't take long to piss away the first points of the season. Obvious standouts include JJ, the fourth line and Hemsky. Obvious duds in this game include Hall, DD and most of our defense.

Lots of missed opportunities in this one and obviously lots of work left to do. I was really hoping to be able to enjoy the three day break but Saturday is going to feel like a long ways a way after the way this one ended.

Avatar
#166 Justino
October 01 2013, 11:02PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

The first line sucked tonight. Dubnyk wasnt great but i dont blame him completely. The oilers just cant play a 3rd period!

Avatar
#167 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 11:04PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Hall almost got put out for the season by trouba. Playing center makes him even more vulnerable to that kind of hit.

Avatar
#168 Lawndemon
October 01 2013, 11:04PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

If the Oilers outshoot opponents like that every game this year then we will enjoy playoff hockey again.

Avatar
#169 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 11:06PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
Lawndemon wrote:

If the Oilers outshoot opponents like that every game this year then we will enjoy playoff hockey again.

Not if their goalie has a.815 save percentage they won't

Avatar
#170 Harry
October 01 2013, 11:06PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
YFC Prez wrote:

We already want Eakins fired!? It's game 1

When a player embarrasses himself like smyth did tonight and plays as much as he did it raises a question or two.

I couldnt agree more with bag skating the coach.

Uak and JJ played less than smyth and he was god awful tonigjt

Avatar
#171 Andrew
October 01 2013, 11:06PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Dubnyk, Petry and Nick Schultz suck rhino. Dubnyk has got to go. Apparently he has a seive on his family crest. Yegads man!!!

Avatar
#172 jl
October 01 2013, 11:10PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Couple things

We could have used more assistant captains assigned.

We still suck

Is it too early to talk about next and how we may make it.

Bring on the lottery pick

Avatar
#173 Rocket
October 01 2013, 11:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Andrew wrote:

Dubnyk, Petry and Nick Schultz suck rhino. Dubnyk has got to go. Apparently he has a seive on his family crest. Yegads man!!!

The whole team looked out of synch tonight. Hopefully it's just first game jitters and players getting used to playing together (crosses fingers).

What's the pre-season for again? Oh right, gouging fans and not team gelling.

Avatar
#174 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
k wrote:

When Smyth is playing 1st line minutes you bag skate the coach

Maybe with Hemsky + Smyth on the first line is what reminds me so of '06..lol...no its the goaltending..its just 1 game, some early nerves, major self pressure...Hall, Dubnyk, Belov, played very unlike they did in the preseason. On the bright side, JJ, Hemsky, Ganzig(sorry on the spelling), Acton played as well or better than they did in the PS...3 days to shake it up..the ball is in Eakins court..Lets see if he really has the stones for this..Go Oilers Go

Avatar
#175 spliff
October 01 2013, 11:13PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

This was a very disappointing game for the following reasons:

1) they needed to win this season opener, against a beatable team, but they don't

2) they needed to show some balls when the going got tough in the third period, but they didn't

3) they needed Mr."top ten save%" to make a save when they needed a save, but he didn't

I've been cheering for this team for nearly 40 years, and I can't much more losing. Unfortunately, I realized tonight that this team is not in the playoff conversation.

Very disappointing.

Avatar
#176 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 11:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

Smyth had over 17 min tonight, yak had barely 14.

Question to Eakins is: why?

Avatar
#177 Shaun Doe
October 01 2013, 11:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Petry looked pretty terrible tonight I can only hope that he can shake it off and move in a less craptacular direction with his game. Joensuu was worth the price of admission though so there was some upside to the game... Sigh little victories

Avatar
#178 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Should be interesting to hear what Eakins has to say post game.

Anything other than what CBC has to say...sorry im repeating myself but thier crew failed worse than we did!!!!

Avatar
#179 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 11:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

That was a fun game to watch. Swarm D is live and die by the sword. A lot of deflections and broken-play bounce goals on both sides. As time goes on the Oil will learn how to play with a lead. There were a lot of positives tonight. Alas one of them wasn't 2 pts.

Avatar
#180 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 11:21PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
@Oilanderp wrote:

That was a fun game to watch. Swarm D is live and die by the sword. A lot of deflections and broken-play bounce goals on both sides. As time goes on the Oil will learn how to play with a lead. There were a lot of positives tonight. Alas one of them wasn't 2 pts.

Isn't 7 years enough time?

Avatar
#181 madjam
October 01 2013, 11:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

We played well enough to win , and bad enough at times to lose , aided by a subpar goalie performance this night . Once again , as in past seasons , our club plays periphery game long enough to let other club back in game . Defence in our own end is still a sore spot for us . Dubbie's got to play much better if we hope to contend .

Avatar
#182 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 11:25PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

@Spydyr

Do you have anything positive to contribute?

Avatar
#183 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 11:27PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
@Oilanderp wrote:

Do you have anything positive to contribute?

Sure the fourth line looked good so did the big Finn.Ference played well.Do you see everything with rose color glasses or do you have any issues with some players tonight?Perhaps the coach?

Avatar
#184 Oilersman
October 01 2013, 11:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

So close. Yet still soooooo far. I kind of wondered why DSF and Jj hate the Oilers so much but realized it is from the many defeats from the "old" days. The many playoff heart breakers, the talent and glory that was once abundant. It has taken time but we'll be able to get back to that form of hockey. It is coming. Right Lord? Amen.

Avatar
#185 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 11:32PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
@Oilanderp wrote:

Do you have anything positive to contribute?

After seven years outside the playoffs it is hard to stay positive.Some see the warts on the team.

Avatar
#186 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 11:36PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

@Spydyr

Do you REALLY think anyone here needs you to point out that we haven't been in the playoffs for a while? REEEEAAAALLLLY? I hadn't noticed!!!! Try harder than that please. That's all I'm saying.

EDIT: All our faceoff men were 50% or better.... that's something to build on :) http://oilers.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/boxscore?id=2013020003

Avatar
#187 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
@Oilanderp wrote:

Do you have anything positive to contribute?

Have to agree with Spydyr on 4th line and JJ, but I would include Eberle(calm yourself Wanye), unfortuneatly too many par,sub par players...Dubnyk,Smyth,Belov(hes my star this year),Arcobello,Eakins...all of them dropped the ball, Arco gets a little leeway based on lack of NHL experience...Eakins as well BUT how does an ineffective Smyth have more icetime than Yakster...God only knows!!

Avatar
#188 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 11:53PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Before tonight I thought that there was absolutely no chance in hell this team would make the playoffs. After this game I think there might be a slim chance. Weird after a loss I know but it is what it is.

Avatar
#189 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
@Oilanderp wrote:

Do you REALLY think anyone here needs you to point out that we haven't been in the playoffs for a while? REEEEAAAALLLLY? I hadn't noticed!!!! Try harder than that please. That's all I'm saying.

EDIT: All our faceoff men were 50% or better.... that's something to build on :) http://oilers.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/boxscore?id=2013020003

Faceoffs were not an issue(for a change) and as for the 7 year BS, im as tired of it as Leaf fans are about the 67 cup thing, dissapointment was being swept by Hull + co. in the Avco Cup final..we were supposed to be better, hell we were better,But, they beat us(no they stomped us) yet 5 years later we were winning our 1st cup and they were...crappy!!! Slats turned this team from pretenders to contenders, but it took a year and a half. Lets give Eakins time to do it, and hope management understands and excepts what changes must be done to succeed.

Avatar
#190 Slats
October 02 2013, 12:04AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Shaun Doe wrote:

Petry looked pretty terrible tonight I can only hope that he can shake it off and move in a less craptacular direction with his game. Joensuu was worth the price of admission though so there was some upside to the game... Sigh little victories

Petry? +1 and 22+ mins in the game - not sure he is even on the list of "need to do better"

Almost tied game with nice move at end as well

Avatar
#191 Mikey
October 02 2013, 12:16AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Dubnyk.....

Avatar
#192 Andrew
October 02 2013, 12:34AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

I'm not quite sure what game Smyth thinks he was playing but I'm guessing it is called ass-hockey, because thats where he spent most of the game. First line MY ass!

What an embarASSment Smyth has become to himself and the fans. Whats the matter Smytty haven't you made enough $$$$$$$ yet. Just a suggestion leave on your own terms before you are booed off the ice.

Avatar
#193 vetinari
October 02 2013, 04:24AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Too soon to start chanting "Schneider, Schneider" after a bad goal???

Avatar
#194 Shaun Doe
October 02 2013, 08:11AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Slats wrote:

Petry? +1 and 22+ mins in the game - not sure he is even on the list of "need to do better"

Almost tied game with nice move at end as well

Yes his stats line was fine but then so was the teams if you don't look at the score. He just didn't look good tonight to my eye. One of those cases where he stood out only because I kept seeing mistakes. Joensuu was -1 and he played a great game so what does that tell you?

Avatar
#195 j
October 02 2013, 08:17AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Andrew wrote:

I'm not quite sure what game Smyth thinks he was playing but I'm guessing it is called ass-hockey, because thats where he spent most of the game. First line MY ass!

What an embarASSment Smyth has become to himself and the fans. Whats the matter Smytty haven't you made enough $$$$$$$ yet. Just a suggestion leave on your own terms before you are booed off the ice.

Easy there kiddo. Smytty had a good pre-season that was parlayed into a cameo on the first line. I am certain this will autocorrect very quickly but you can't blame him for how he was utilized last night. The coach gave him the chance and it didn't work out that well against a real NHL team.

Avatar
#196 Quicksilver ballet
October 02 2013, 09:13AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

The game confirmed one thing for me...

There isn't near enough Midol in the Edmonton area to help Harry cope. Might want to check and make sure you have plenty of tampons Harry. Smytty's doing fine and he'll be getting close to 17 mins again on Saturday in Vancouver.

Fire Eakins after one game.....what an idiot. Get a clue.

Comments are closed for this article.