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   

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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 Mikey
October 01 2013, 05:59PM
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The Big Dummy wrote:

To all you stats nerds out there....Let me ask this questions: Would you rather give up 20 shots per game and have a .900 save percentage or 35 shots per game and have a .930 save percentage? If my math is correct, that is a 2.00 GAA vs. 2.45 GAA. What save percentage is going to win more games? My point is that the number that actually wins games is GAA.

True and GAA is more of a team stat. Where save % is more about you.

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#52 Hayek
October 01 2013, 06:00PM
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J-E-T-S, jets, jets jets! SUCK!

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#53 Bucknuck
October 01 2013, 06:08PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

I am really going to miss the 7-2 Oilers of Canucks score that has been dawning this website for several months

Me too, but hopefully we can replace it with a 7-2 Oil win over the Jets tonight.

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#54 Butters
October 01 2013, 06:23PM
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We are all thinking it, so I will just come out and say it... 82-0

That is all.

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#55 Alsker
October 01 2013, 07:22PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Me too, but hopefully we can replace it with a 7-2 Oil win over the Jets tonight.

Lets be honest, 7-2, 3-2, 9-8, as long as we win.....meaningful game#1...woohoooooooooo

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#56 Alsker
October 01 2013, 07:30PM
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Butters wrote:

We are all thinking it, so I will just come out and say it... 82-0

That is all.

It took 50+ posts to get the first kool-aid overdose,lol,way more sauce lovers tonite as we're only at 50some comments. Its hockey time!!!!

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#57 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 07:33PM
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Opening night,every team is in first place.Oilers win 4-3.

GO OILERS!!!

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#58 Dog Train
October 01 2013, 08:00PM
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Opening night... let's do this!

"Slick Rick" is calling for the Oilers to win 3-2 tonight. First goal by Perron while Hall adds a pair. GO OILERS GO!!

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#59 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:18PM
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Game on!!!

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#60 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:23PM
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Fourth line goal.Who would have thought it.

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#61 TeamOmark
October 01 2013, 08:24PM
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LUKE GAZDIC GETS THE FIRST GOAL OF THE YEAR? Who guessed that...

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#62 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:24PM
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AHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

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#63 I tried it at home
October 01 2013, 08:24PM
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OK, who had Gazdic in the pool? Hell, Im not even sure I spelled his name right

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#64 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:26PM
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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHHAHAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAA. :(

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#65 Alsker
October 01 2013, 08:28PM
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Nice goal by Gazdic, NOT a good goal vs Dubby, nerves? Lets hope so!!

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#66 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:32PM
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Nice to see Eakins using his best players on the PK.

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#67 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:33PM
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Two deflections off of defensemen. Cherry would have a fit!

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#68 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:35PM
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Byfugly's arm weighs more than Eberle.

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#69 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:35PM
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Buff owns Ebs in the corner.

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#70 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:37PM
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Maybe this is part of the system but WHAT is J. Schultz doing behind the Jets' net?

*nervous laugh*

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#71 Alsker
October 01 2013, 08:40PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Maybe this is part of the system but WHAT is J. Schultz doing behind the Jets' net?

*nervous laugh*

swarm offense? Hey im all for it if it works....thank god it was Jokinen alone infront of Dubnyk.

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#72 Alsker
October 01 2013, 08:44PM
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Ive had nuf of CBC's hockey crew: first Ladd's hit from behind was a good tough check,Byfs hit on Acton: what he out ways him by 100lbs., sad, or maybe pathetic

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#73 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:44PM
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Crazy fast backcheck by Hemsky there, he looks all in!

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#74 Harry
October 01 2013, 08:48PM
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Watchin Smyth tonight is like watching a kitten being tortured. What a waste of Halls icetime

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#75 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:48PM
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Wonder if Mac-T is still looking for a starting goalie?

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#76 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:48PM
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Hall is learning that he can't deke 3 guys by himself in the NHL. Bad turnover at blueline ends up in his net.

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#77 Gkpoil
October 01 2013, 08:51PM
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I wonder if these pro-Dubnyk guys are still going to talk about how good his save percentage is!! Man, Dub SUCKS!!!

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#78 sizedoesmatter
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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Finnaly buffet line takes a penalty

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#79 brian_d
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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Swap Joensuu for Smyth ;) Kidding, but the Finn has looked impressive...

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#80 Harry
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Hall is learning that he can't deke 3 guys by himself in the NHL. Bad turnover at blueline ends up in his net.

Watching Hemsky and Smyth play hockey is like watching a kitten being tortured.

What a complete waste of Halls icetime. Ben Eager would be more effective than Smyth and Hemsky is invisible out there.

I can only hope that Eakins can see this

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#81 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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Schultz doesn't need a slapper. That wrister is meaaan.

edit: another deflection! Beauty Gordon.

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#82 Alsker
October 01 2013, 08:53PM
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Shades of '06..team plays well but any chance oppositin has is in,why??? Im sure Dubby will do well but this is not a good game for him. Step up or get out!!! Heads to beer fridge for a little kool-aid. WHAT, we score, must go back for more...

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#83 I tried it at home
October 01 2013, 08:53PM
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Seems like "First Goal as an Oiler" night... my moneys on Joensuu next

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#84 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:55PM
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I already like this years #6 way more then last years #6.

Oilers out shooting a team.Nice.

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#85 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:56PM
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This is exciting hockey! Great game!

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#86 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:57PM
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brian_d wrote:

Swap Joensuu for Smyth ;) Kidding, but the Finn has looked impressive...

Why not Smyth is slooooooowwwwwwww and the big Finn is flying tonight.

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#87 Gkpoil
October 01 2013, 08:59PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Wonder if Mac-T is still looking for a starting goalie?

Sure hope so

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#88 Harry
October 01 2013, 09:01PM
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Junk wrote:

I was shocked that Smid was not named an assistant captain and Schultz was...in what world does this make sense. Unlike you Jason I beleive this will have a big effect on Laddy as this is the second time he has been overlooked and think this meant a lot to him. Are the Oilers looking to move him? I can honestly see him asking for a trade this year if continued to be disrespected by the organization.

You sir are a complete fool!

Do you sit in the Oilers locker room? No you dont. Enough said

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#89 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:05PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Why not Smyth is slooooooowwwwwwww and the big Finn is flying tonight.

being hollering the same thing for half the period, but us tier 2 fans have no say in line combos.

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#90 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:10PM
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Alsker wrote:

being hollering the same thing for half the period, but us tier 2 fans have no say in line combos.

Eakins has to see it.

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#91 brian_d
October 01 2013, 09:17PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Eakins has to see it.

Regardless, no way that happens that quickly.

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#92 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 09:19PM
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Joensuu looks like the teamu hartikainen I always wanted.

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#93 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:19PM
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Nice dangle Hemmer.

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#94 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 09:20PM
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I love it when hemmer does that!!!!!

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#95 Czar
October 01 2013, 09:20PM
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Hemmer!!

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#96 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:21PM
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brian_d wrote:

Regardless, no way that happens that quickly.

Not tonight but soon I hope.

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#97 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:22PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Eakins has to see it.

He cant be that blind. Isnt that why he replaced the other guy who replaced the other guy who replaced the other guy whom all suffered from the same blindness disease.

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#98 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:26PM
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Dubbie wake up.

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#99 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 09:26PM
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Dubnykov?

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#100 brian_d
October 01 2013, 09:28PM
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Hemsky's goal wasn't so much soft hands as brutal defensive breakdown...but I'll take it...

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