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

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

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

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

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#155 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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#156 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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#157 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:26PM
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Dubbie wake up.

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

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#159 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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#160 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:32PM
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Hockey Jesus Jr puts it in!

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

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

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#163 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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#164 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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#165 brian_d
October 01 2013, 09:37PM
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Joensuu for first star!

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#166 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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#167 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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#168 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:41PM
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Brown's stache is epic.

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

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#170 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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#171 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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#172 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 10:01PM
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The Oilers are on fire! Alarms are ringing!

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#173 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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#174 @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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#175 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:25PM
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We havent seen enough Yak tonite!

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#176 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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#177 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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#178 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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#179 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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#180 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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#181 EP
October 01 2013, 10:51PM
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New GM, new coach, a bunch of new players, same uncanny ability to give up a 2 goal lead. Some things never change.

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#182 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 01 2013, 11:00PM
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Should be interesting to hear what Eakins has to say post game.

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#183 Rocket
October 01 2013, 11:00PM
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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?

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#184 Dog Train
October 01 2013, 11:02PM
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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.

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#185 Rocket
October 01 2013, 11:10PM
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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.

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#186 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:12PM
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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

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#187 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 11:13PM
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Smyth had over 17 min tonight, yak had barely 14.

Question to Eakins is: why?

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#188 Shaun Doe
October 01 2013, 11:14PM
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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

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#189 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:16PM
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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!!!!

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#190 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 11:17PM
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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.

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#191 madjam
October 01 2013, 11:22PM
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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 .

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#192 Oilersman
October 01 2013, 11:30PM
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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.

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#193 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:43PM
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@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!!

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#194 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:54PM
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@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.

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#195 Slats
October 02 2013, 12:04AM
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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

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#196 Shaun Doe
October 02 2013, 08:11AM
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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?

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