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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#101 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:29PM
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"Rare face-off win for Hall" is this the Jets play-by-play team for CBC, Hall is 5-5 in the dot.. RARE,, i think im gonna gag..

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#102 dman
October 01 2013, 09:29PM
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@YFC Prez

Me too. Apparently it is like watching kittens being tortured

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#103 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:30PM
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brian_d wrote:

Hemsky's goal wasn't so much soft hands as brutal defensive breakdown...but I'll take it...

Wheeler blew a wheel but it was still a nice dangle.

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#104 Doug Diggler
October 01 2013, 09:30PM
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speaking of blind, how about dubnyk?

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#105 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:30PM
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Dubnyk talking to the Ref during the stoppage: "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

edit: what u don't remember those commercials he was in?

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#106 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:32PM
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Hockey Jesus Jr puts it in!

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#107 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:32PM
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The big Finn earned that goal with his effort tonight.

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#108 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:32PM
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YEsssssssss...Jonesuu....great play by Eberle!!!!!Bwaaaahaaaahaaaaaa

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#109 Doug Diggler
October 01 2013, 09:33PM
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yay Whitney...wait we got rid of that bum. Yay Joensuu!

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#110 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:34PM
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Smyth caught on the back check.Get used to hearing that this year.

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#111 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:36PM
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Most people thought 94 would run out of gas by Xmas, not half way thru game 1...love Smytty BUT...

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#112 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:37PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Smyth caught on the back check.Get used to hearing that this year.

Was the Jets player standing still...lol

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#113 brian_d
October 01 2013, 09:37PM
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Joensuu for first star!

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#114 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:40PM
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Alsker wrote:

Was the Jets player standing still...lol

No but Smyth took a lazy penalty because he was tired.Again Eakins has to be seeing this.

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#115 Kodiak
October 01 2013, 09:41PM
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When did Ryan Smyth lose his hockey sense? I don't care that he can't skate and looks out of gas all the time but already tonight I've seen him turn the puck over and not get it deep when he's had the opportunity to. Hopefully Eakins recognizes quickly that Smyth is a less than 10 min a night player

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#116 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:41PM
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Brown's stache is epic.

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#117 JJ
October 01 2013, 09:44PM
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Smid is a total POS. He should get booted out for that kind of goonery. Typical deadmonton.

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#118 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:46PM
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Looks like the scuffle earlier in the period woke up Dubbie.

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#119 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 09:46PM
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JJ wrote:

Smid is a total POS. He should get booted out for that kind of goonery. Typical deadmonton.

You seem lonely. Wanna hug it out?

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#120 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:46PM
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JJ wrote:

Smid is a total POS. He should get booted out for that kind of goonery. Typical deadmonton.

The hit was no different than Ladds hit on Perron in the first(that was hailed a great tough hit)

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#121 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:49PM
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So much bitching about our goalie and other players I had to look up at the top to make sure I wasn't on Canucksarmy.com

Give it a rest haters, we're winning 4-2!

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#122 JJ
October 01 2013, 09:50PM
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Alsker wrote:

The hit was no different than Ladds hit on Perron in the first(that was hailed a great tough hit)

Uh, no.

That was a classic boarding and then he hit his head AGAIN into the boards. It was vicious. He's a goon. I didn't mind the Oilers but now I hope you enjoy the basement for coming on.. 8 years?

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#123 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:51PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

So much bitching about our goalie and other players I had to look up at the top to make sure I wasn't on Canucksarmy.com

Give it a rest haters, we're winning 4-2!

You can go ahead and think every player that wears an Oiler uniform can do no wrong.Some of us will speak up when a player is playing lousy.

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#124 dman
October 01 2013, 09:53PM
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@JJ

Yeah remind me how many years its been since the jets made the post season? Oh right, its going on 7.

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#125 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:54PM
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Nice scrap hope the kid gets an apple now.

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#126 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 09:55PM
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@JJ

Oh sorry. I though you were lonely. My bad your just lost. "Tsn.ca" is where you belong. Trust me you will fit in well there.

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#127 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:57PM
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Spydyr wrote:

You can go ahead and think every player that wears an Oiler uniform can do no wrong.Some of us will speak up when a player is playing lousy.

Yes but do you have to speak up EVERY time?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I71cY9Ysy5U

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#128 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:58PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

So much bitching about our goalie and other players I had to look up at the top to make sure I wasn't on Canucksarmy.com

Give it a rest haters, we're winning 4-2!

OK, you're right, maybe the lack of DSF and QSB has caused some of us to be more negative than usual. Nice fight for Ganzig, goal, fight, fore-checking well, sorry Mr.Eager.

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#129 TonyT
October 01 2013, 10:00PM
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Wow, I understand he's on his last legs but Ryan Smyth is where the puck goes to die...

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#130 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 10:01PM
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The Oilers are on fire! Alarms are ringing!

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#131 Harry
October 01 2013, 10:02PM
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Smyth is done. I love the guy but in game 1 he look just terrible. Out of gas.no hands and a turnover machine

SMITTY DO THE RIGHT.THING AND RETIRE!!

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#132 k
October 01 2013, 10:02PM
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TonyT wrote:

Wow, I understand he's on his last legs but Ryan Smyth is where the puck goes to die...

Brutal doesn't begin to describe him

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#133 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 10:03PM
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I guess I should make an anon account and change my name in between negative cancerous postings too....

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#134 Harry
October 01 2013, 10:04PM
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Alsker wrote:

OK, you're right, maybe the lack of DSF and QSB has caused some of us to be more negative than usual. Nice fight for Ganzig, goal, fight, fore-checking well, sorry Mr.Eager.

Funny how those two.clowns never show up when things are going well for the Oil.

DSF is clearly not an Oilers fan so thats warranted.

QSB is a textbook bandwagoner which is the worst kind of fan.

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#135 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:07PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Yes but do you have to speak up EVERY time?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I71cY9Ysy5U

Please feel free to skip my posts it won't hurt my feelings.

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#136 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:23PM
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Harry wrote:

Funny how those two.clowns never show up when things are going well for the Oil.

DSF is clearly not an Oilers fan so thats warranted.

QSB is a textbook bandwagoner which is the worst kind of fan.

Wont argue with your take on DSF but there was a time QSB(prior to his dark knight avatar) was the ultimate optimist, even when everyone realized what we were facing. Bandwagoner is a word I wouldnt use.

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#137 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:24PM
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Nice to see big Buff steamroll small oiler fowards like Eberle. Perfect.

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#138 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:25PM
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We havent seen enough Yak tonite!

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#139 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:26PM
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JJ wrote:

Nice to see big Buff steamroll small oiler fowards like Eberle. Perfect.

Nicer to see Jonesuu stand up for his teammate.

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#140 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 10:27PM
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@JJ

Scoreboard.

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#141 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 01 2013, 10:30PM
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Holy crap.......do the Islanders have any other guys they're not using!?!

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#142 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:30PM
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Alsker wrote:

Nicer to see Jonesuu stand up for his teammate.

Jonesuu is sure looking like a keeper.

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#143 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:35PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Scoreboard.

Yea, only reason Oilers can win some games is from powerplay. We saw that last year with the Krueger system. Just wait bud, games not done yet.

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#144 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:38PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Scoreboard.

TROOOOUBBAAA.

scoreboard says it's tied. Nice try.

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#145 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:38PM
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What is Dubbie's save percentage today?

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#146 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:42PM
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Sorry Oildrop, but what does Dubnyk get paid to do. Hes been down early/out of position on too many tonite.Deflected, sure but at the blue line...Yo JJ isnt a good PP what its all about?

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#147 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 10:44PM
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That's the first soft goal of the year.

And counting...

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#148 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:44PM
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Spydyr wrote:

What is Dubbie's save percentage today?

About .850 4/26 If my math is right

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#149 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:45PM
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Pull him.

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#150 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:45PM
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5-4!!! Burn Edmonton. burn. Stay in the sewer of the league where you belong and don't come back.

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