GDB 4.0: LOOKING FOR MOMENTUM

Jason Gregor
October 10 2013 12:12PM

After a ferocious comeback led them to a shootout victory on Monday, the Oilers will be looking to carry that momentum into tonight's clash with the Montreal Canadiens. The Oilers have trailed by three goals heading into the 3rd period 285 times in franchise history, and Monday was only the 5th time they came back to win the game. Those types of comebacks are extremely rare, but the enthusiasm and confidence the Oilers gained from that game has been evident the past few days.

The players were more relaxed. This team is still quite young, especially their offensive leaders, and even though it was only eight periods of hockey, you could tell some of them were frustrated with their lack of production prior to the 3rd period explosion vs. the Devils.

Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov desperately want to lead this team offensively. They feel their primary job is to score goals, and you could see they were getting frustrated not doing it. They have high expectations, and since Monday's victory you could see the relief on two of their faces.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in his first game, so he wasn't feeling any frustration, but he's just as hungry to lead this team as the other three.

As they mature, they will realize that on nights where their offence is struggling they can still help the team by playing solid defensively. It is easy to say, but much harder to accept. Very few young offensive stars can accept that playing great defence is as important as scoring a goal. They were able to dominate at every other level, and most of their domination came offensively.

This isn't a knock or a criticism, just a fact in today's game. The best offensive players become some of the best two-way players if their teams want to win. Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Patrice Bergeron are excellent two-way players, and Nugent-Hopkins is constantly talking about wanting to emulate them.

Hall, Eberle and Yakupov are equally aware of it, but it will take time before they don't get frustrated when the offence dries up. Usually their slumps won't last very long, so it won't be a big issue, but even a two-game drought can frustrate young snipers.

Hall's third period goal was a huge relief, and even though Eberle didn't score a goal, he contributed with an assist and he too was more relaxed the past few days.

Yakupov loves scoring goals, and after scoring six goals in his final three games he was hoping to carry that momentum into this season. It hasn't happened, yet, and you can see the frustration in his game. It seems many in Oilersnation want to blame his linemates for his lack of production. That is a lame excuse, and not one that Yakupov is thinking about.

Elite players don't think that way. Yakupov can score regardless of who he plays with, and when I spoke to him yesterday he said he just needs to shoot more and react better to plays. He's played most of the season with Boyd Gordon, who has a point in every game, so the excuse of weak linemates is not only a cop out, but also inaccurate.

Yakupov needs to shoot more, but he also needs to work harder to get into better shooting lanes. It is only three games, and no one should be that concerned, but stop blaming his linemates. Gordon is playing the best offensive hockey of his career, yet he's an anchor for Yakupov? It doesn't jive.

Yakupov will start producing, and when he does it will likely coincide with him simply working harder in every aspect of his game.

LINEUP

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

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

Dubnyk

I'm sure many will complain that Yakupov is playing with Smyth, but Eakins isn't afraid to juggle his lines, so I'm sure we will see Yakupov play with other duos as well. Eakins won't hesitate to switch up the lines if they aren't producing, but he stated yesterday he'd much rather keep his lines together, because that means they are playing well.

The Canadiens lost 3-2 in Calgary last night and didn't skate this morning, but Peter Budaj will get the start in goal for the Habs. Josh Gorges was injured and only played one shift in the third period last night, so he'll be a game time decision.

Galchenyuk-Eller-Gallagher
Pacioretty-Desharnais-Briere
Bourque-Plekanec-Gionta
Prust-Moen-White/Bournival

Gorges??-Subban
Markov-Diaz
Bouillon-Tinordi

Budaj 

QUICK HITS....

  • David Perron is another scorer who wants to be a main contributor. After a solid preseason, five goals, he too was pressing for his first as an Oiler. After he ripped one over Brodeur's right shoulder he admitted he felt a great sense of relief. It is nice to see a bunch of players who truly want to contribute and win. Once this team learns to play better away from the puck, I believe they will be a handful for opposing teams.
     
  • Last year many wrote how Eberle's shooting % was unsustainable, and he would clearly regress. It is interesting how none of those same people wrote similar stories about Yakupov. Yakupov had 17 goals on 81 shots for a sizzling 21 SH%. If Eberle's 18.9% wasn't going to be repeated, shouldn't those people expect Yakupov to regress as well?
     
  • Perception and human nature is a funny thing. It seems some have decided it is Eberle vs. Yakupov, instead of hoping that both have great success. I sense that some would rather see Yakupov succeed than Eberle, mainly because he was the #1 overall pick. After a 76-point season many stats guys wanted to show why Eberle couldn't maintain those numbers, yet after Yakupov's rookie campaign many automatically assumed he'd become a 35-goal man. Why was Eberle's season critiqued due to SH%, but Yakupov's used as a stepping stone to future success?
     
  • Lars Eller is off to a great start for the Habs. He has four goals and six points in three games, while Aex Galchenyuk has five assists. Eakins likes to go power on power so we could see the RNH line vs. Galchenyuk which should be exciting.
     
  • I loved Tomas Hertl's goal. It is extremely difficult to pull that off in a game, and outside of Adam Oates, it seemed most hockey fans appreciated it. I liked Hall's response when I asked him if he feels it was disrespectful. "I think it is more insulting if a team stops trying against you than if they run up the score or score a flashy goal," said Hall. 

THE ORACLE....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers can't afford to go on the road with only one victory. They will play their best game of the early season and skate away with a 4-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Gordon has had four three-game point streaks in his career, but he's never had points in four consecutive games. He'll set a career high tonight with an assist, and make everyone forget about the dreadful two seasons of the Belanger Triangle.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Midway through the first period Alex Galchenyuk, the 3rd pick in the 2012 draft, will crush Yakupov, 1st pick in 2012, with an open ice hit. Yakupov is slow to get up, but on his next shift he rips a one-timer for his first goal of the season. Instead of a crazy celebration, he just stands still and raises his hands above his head with a big smile. After the game he thanks his former teammate for waking him from his early season slump.

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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#1 Racki
October 10 2013, 12:29PM
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I wish the thoughts some have of moving Eberle or Yakupov would die.

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#2 Craig1981
October 10 2013, 12:52PM
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WIN tonight= Oilers have found their game and are cup competitors. MacT and Eakins are saviors

LOSE- Oilers got lucky for one period and are finishing last, we need to make BOLD trades. Get Dubnyk and KLowe gone by next game

TRUTH-Lets see where we are at in December

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#3 Devolution
October 10 2013, 11:34PM
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Harry wrote:

Anyone elso notice those greasy herpy sores on Gallaghers face? Discusting!!!

While we are on the topic of personal attacks that have nothing at all to do with hockey, learn to spell.

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#4 Lochenzo
October 10 2013, 12:34PM
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Put Dubnyk in that same category of guys not playing loose. Get that first win under his belt and maybe he'll be better.

I'm glad to see that everyone is feeling the pressure to succeed. Just need to learn how to internalize that go out and play your game.

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#5 Craig1981
October 10 2013, 05:01PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

The Canadiens play with more heart and outwork the Oilers this evening. Eakins starts the wrong goaltender, back into the flames for Dubey as the Oil get torched 6-2. Oilers can't overcome a quick start by the Habs. Montreal is amped up after last night and the Oilers are bored and a little too relaxed since Tuesday.

It's been 6 weeks since Eakins fitness structure was implemented. Should have started to see the benefits of this by now...no reason for them to get outworked.

Take your ball and go home!!

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#6 Johe
October 10 2013, 01:20PM
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I have already forgotten about the Belanger Triangle. Gordon has been superior in every way possible. Against NJ, in the third period alone, he made more contact with opposing players than Belanger did in two years.

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#7 A-Mc
October 10 2013, 01:06PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

Nope, never saw it, despite the fact it was all over the sports channels. Never saw it at all!!

Oh good, so you also wouldn't have any idea how good a goalie Mr. Quick is!

Well let me tell you - he's Mr. Fantastic in terms of keeping pucks out of the net and even HE can make bone headed plays.

Moral of the story: Goalies make mistakes, it happens. Dubnyk should be left alone!

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#8 Craig1981
October 10 2013, 01:00PM
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lolhockey wrote:

I really like Yakupov and I hope he does well tonight. He might not score, but he needs to play better.

If he doesn't, I think he'll be the first of the Fab 5 to be made an example of and take a seat in the press box.

Yak is trying. You make an example out of someone that isn't putting in effort, not having trouble cause they are trying too hard.

Think benching him would compound the problem, putting MORE pressure on him.

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#9 God
October 10 2013, 10:16PM
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I'm seriously getting sick of watching my team lose. The Oilers are slipping into Pittsburgh Pirates territory....

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#10 spliff
October 11 2013, 12:08AM
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Oilers in 29th already. Now, to get back in the mix they will need to string some victories together. What are the chances of that? I have been patient for many years, but I am sick of losing.

Look at the Leafs, Columbus and the Avs, and now look at the Oilers. And my biggest nightmare...look at the Flames. If the Flames finish ahead of us in Year One of their rebuild, how do KLowe, MacT and the gang explain that to this abused and taken-for-granted fan base? Same old sh*t and I am sick of losing. Even if we do make the playoffs (which I highly doubt)it will be in 8th place. When was the last time the oilers finished higher then 7th place? 1991? WTF? The management of this organization is terrible, and based on their track record, should not be employed to run an NHL team. There are no more excuses. This far along into a rebuild, after 7 years of no playoffs, this team needs to be winning more games then they are losing, regardless of injuries or schedule. Very tired of this crap, year after year.

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#11 6 ring circus
October 11 2013, 12:20AM
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New Gm,New Coach,New Dressing room and a New captain,yet we keep getting the same old result's.I'm sick and tired of the same old results!!!

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#12 Chaz
October 10 2013, 03:37PM
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....oh wait, I also hate Calgary Fans.....and Vancouver Fans (REALLY hate Vancouver Fans)....and Toronto Fans......

For some reason I'm okay with Winnipeg and Ottawa fans. Not sure why.....

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#13 Mike Krushelnyski
October 10 2013, 10:23PM
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Can we tear down our rebuild and rebuild it again?

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#14 A-Mc
October 10 2013, 12:40PM
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I Eff'n love how this team is shaping up. Gordon has been fantastic, Perron was an absolute STEAL from STL (Go MacT!), Ference is solid and does things the right way, Uncle Yesse was kick'n arse until his back went out.etc

I really like the team dynamics. I like how we have some new guys who WANT it badly. No excuses for failure anymore. The vibe seems different and I'm hopeful that it translates into success on the ice.

That being said, My hockey draft includes Eller and Galchenyuk so i hope the Oilers win 11-10; all 10 goals against being scored on the PP or Shorthanded by Eller or Galchenyuk.. k Thx! **

*Ranked 7 of 10 in his Yahoo Fantasy hockey draft* - Desperation mode already!

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#15 washed up
October 10 2013, 10:15PM
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Time to make some trades!!!!!!

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#16 God
October 10 2013, 10:21PM
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Habs broke the Oil cycle like a bully stealing their lunch money. Out coached and outplayed when it counted. Great hustle, but it wasn't combined with a well executed system.

The Habs gained the Oilers zone way too easily tonight. Still the turnovers. Nuge, Hall and Ebs were trying to do too much on their own. There was no cohesion in the offensive zone.

I'm seriously getting sick of watching my team lose.

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#17 Bloodsweatandoil
October 10 2013, 01:45PM
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8-1 for the Oilers...Here's also hoping there are more Oiler Jerseys in the crowd than Habs Jerseys!

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#18 Reg Dunlop
October 10 2013, 10:01PM
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Good to see a pussy European cheap shot our best player with NO repercussions. Now that's teamwork.

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#19 Will
October 10 2013, 12:55PM
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Should be an exciting game tonight. I am happy that Eakins has not broken up the fourth line yet. They have leaked a few scoring chances including an extended segment where they were hemmed in their own zone and couldn't clear. But they haven't been scored on yet. Gazdic and Brown are really laying some hits out there. Good to see we're not making it as easy for other teams.

I really hope they move Yak up onto the top line for just a little while tonight for several reasons:

1. He would match up against Gally.

2. For the love of God it's been 51 games and we still have not seen the all number 1 pick, all at their natural position line. I want to see what three consecutive first overalls can do on a line together. Tonight is the night.

Also, looking at the Candians line up, and looking at ours, there is no way we should not win this.

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#20 Shaun Doe
October 10 2013, 05:19PM
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Here is my Principe Pun for the game:

With Dallas Eakins going power for power with his line combos it will be Hall, Eberle, Nuge (HEN) vs. Eller, Galchenyuk and Gallagher (EGG). Who will finish first? The Chicken or the Egg? Baddy-Boom

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#21 Toe-Dragger
October 10 2013, 02:08PM
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Completely off topic but Joe Thornton just dropped the funniest quote I've seen in years:

Hearing a question to Marleau about Hertl and whether he was showboating, Thornton said: “Shut up, have you ever played the game?” . When the press turned his way, he then added: “I’d have my cock out if I scored four goals. I’d have my cock out, stroking it.” OK, then.

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#22 washed up
October 10 2013, 02:35PM
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Reinman wrote:

I hate to keep bringing him up, but only because I never feels like he gets a fair shake.

Smyth on that 3rd line is death for Yak. Bring up Omark, and play Omark-Gordon-Yak. You got a 2-way center and a couple of gifted offensive players.

Give Omark 10 games, if he doesn't cut it, then send him back down. He is the best offensive talent we have on LW that is not on the roster... give him a shot. If the oilers did that and he didn't perform, fine, I won't mention his name again. He had had success pretty much everywhere he has played outside of the NHL. I beleive he has the talent, just wish Oilers brass would put some faith in him.

They've given Omark a couple shots. He's not an NHL player

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#24 Darrell
October 10 2013, 10:25PM
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I drove 6+ hours straight evading cops to get home for this crap ! I shoulda stayed in Nashville and watched the Leafs and I hate the Leafs ... FML !

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#25 TonyT
October 10 2013, 10:30PM
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Forgot to mention to this, but what's up with Ebs?

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#26 Reg Dunlop
October 10 2013, 10:17PM
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Well, now we start the roadie that will define our season. 8 out of the next 9 away from Rexall, not one gimme in the bunch. Oh oh, could we see a 1-12 start to 2013? Will anyone's head roll if we do?

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#27 Geoff
October 10 2013, 10:23PM
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Oilers could really use a Chris ponger clone right about now :(

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#28 Hemmercules
October 11 2013, 08:10AM
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Well now that they are 1-3 I guess the season is over, with a measly 78 games left there is absolutely no hope of saving the season. Better trade the whole team and fire Eakins immediately before its too late!

Effort was better last night. Dubnyk looked ok from what I saw. Our skill guys need to start carrying the team a bit, score some goals already. Yak and Eberle look lost half the time.

I wonder if playing a third system in 3 years has anything to do with some of the struggles certain players are having??

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#29 A-Mc
October 10 2013, 12:43PM
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Speaking of goalie blunders that might go to your head: did anyone catch that J. Quick goal against a few nights ago?

Loses his stick and then the puck redirects off his blocker and into the net, while he's 20ft from his net.

now THAT can go to a guys head..

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#30 Romanus
October 10 2013, 04:53PM
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The black cloud showed up.

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#31 madjam
October 10 2013, 10:35PM
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We played about as well as we are going to play most nights . We are just not that good enough yet . The better team won tonite . Present roster , even with Gagner back , does not look strong enough to be a contender this year once again . Fun to watch at least . We got more than just our depth to worry about , as our young stars are not showing much if any any progress from last year . Dubbie can't be faulted for this loss .

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#32 Cold Hard Truth
October 10 2013, 10:45PM
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I would love to see the Oilers succeed. You know, finally turn the corner and start showing some consistency.

But I'm actually starting to take pity on this team and especially the fans. It doesn't make sense how an organization can suck so much and for so long.

The problems that have been with us for the past few years are still here:

- Despite all the high-end skill, we can't score. - Bad defence - No depth at center - Unreliable goaltending

I'm not looking to MacTavish to fix anything. He's part of the problem.

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#33 Walter Sobchak
October 10 2013, 11:07PM
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Poor Yakupov, he looks so lost out there right now, to blame a 19 year old for this teams problems is like blaming Dubnyk.

I agree with one of the posters, the Oilers are being out coached badly right now. They looked completely gassed by the end of the second, if you didn't know any better you would have thought the Oilers played last night.

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#34 HOFFFF
October 11 2013, 12:34AM
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I really concerned over some of Eakins comments and decisions already. He seems a bit flakey. Maybe he needs to have a big cheeseburger and a couple Schooners.

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#35 Dan 1919
October 11 2013, 08:49AM
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Despite a loss last night, I like what I am seeing. We finally watched an NHL team lose last night, where as over the last few seasons it seemed when the Oilers lost, they did it in a fashion that made them look as if they didn't even belong in the league.

Dubnyk was OK and will still have to be consistent over long stretches to take the big "?" off him.

Eberle and Yak need to find their game and will.

Hall is all effort and his game will still improve quite a bit as he finds season form.

NUGE is looking like one of the most solid two way centres in the game developing in front of us.

Hemsky is the best right wing on the team, great to see him performing like he can.

I just hope this team buys into Eakins' plan and continues to compete even though they are off to a rocky start, because a team that competes like this with as many solid pieces as they have will be a force to be reckoned with once they start to GEL as a team.

All they need now is to maintain the compete level and time will take care of the rest.

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#36 1983 and This Year
October 10 2013, 12:49PM
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If Yak had been playing with Perron the last 3 games, he would have had more quality scoring opportunities. You can't tell me his line mates don't matter.

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#37 Chaz
October 10 2013, 03:35PM
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There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures...and Habs fans.

Shut the Habs Fans up Might Oil! GOil!!

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#38 The Soup Fascist
October 10 2013, 08:33PM
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Reasons for considering giving up my long held seasons tickets:

1. Seven years of no playoffs? ....... Nah.

2. Spotty play to begin this season? ........ No biggie.

3. Crappy hot dogs and overpriced beer? ...... Negative.

4. Smytty being slower than most beer leaguers? .......... Still love Smytty.

5. Four minutes of Adele to "pump up" the crowd before the game ....... THAR SHE BLOWS!!!

GRAB A CLUE FFS, Oilers' pre-game producers!

Sincerely, soon to be Tier 2 Fan.

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#39 Slats
October 10 2013, 10:42PM
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Can we please for the love of . . . . almighty put someone on the PP who is a threat to use a slap shot - this soft wrister crap from Schulz jr is brutal. And every team knows they are looking for that back door cross ice from the half wall. C'mon coach earn your wage and get creative - Montreal PP made ours look foolish. And it cost another game. I love Ference on PP no hesitation just a hard low slap shot he almost scored twice again tonight.

And finally Yak you are so lost out there bumping into your own players, you are really out of sync - take a look at your former teammate on Habs - a threat every shift, back checks hard, etc i think you just earned yourself a seat up high to start the road trip.

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#40 Harlie
October 10 2013, 11:58PM
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Yak was a lazy floating disaster out there tonight. Brutal.

But I believe in the kid and know he can turn it around. He's got the skills but needs to move his damn feet and engage!

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#41 Cynic
October 11 2013, 03:29AM
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I haven't read all the comments. Just checked in for the midnight suicide watch.

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#42 Space Dad
October 10 2013, 02:06PM
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Alright Gregor,

Sorry to be so nit-picky, but this has been a frustration ever since the Jordan Eberle shooting % discussion began. The word you are looking for is "sustainable," not "attainable." If a shooting % is "unattainable" it means that no player has or ever will be able to "attain" it - pretty much that the shooting % in question is impossible to achieve. If, on the other hand, a shooting % is "unsustainable" it means that it is unlikely that the player in question will be keep scoring at the rate he is.

.

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#44 madjam
October 10 2013, 11:36PM
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Frustrating isn't it for Oilers fans . How can you take a three year cellar club and have it move upward last year , only to have it move back down and perform worse again this year with a new GM and coach ? That's what draws my ire !

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#45 outdoorzguy
October 10 2013, 12:20PM
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Dubnyk is in net. In all liklihood we lose!!

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#46 Rob...
October 10 2013, 01:04PM
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GDP: 5-3 Oilers, Arcobello with his first 'not very pretty' goal. OGDP: Taylor Hall narrowly avoids an unintentional headshot check by Subban in the first. Subban realizes how close he came to a suspension and plays the rest of the game in a subdued manner that the Oilers take advantage of. NSOGDP: Galchenyuk convinces Yak that Alex is in the arena and that she's holding a special sign just for him. Yak is useless for the next 3 shifts as he spends his time searching the crowd. Once he realizes he has been duped he goes ballistic on the ice, hitting anything in red, and ringing two off the post before scoring the Oilers 5th goal.

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#47 vetinari
October 10 2013, 01:23PM
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I hate my brother-in-law.

He is a die-hard Habs fan.

Beers, bragging rights and family pride are on the line tonight.

The Oil better show up and play some NHL hockey.

GDP: Oilers 5 Habs 4

OGDP: It won't be pretty but the Oilers get the job done after racing out to a 4-1 lead to start the third.

NSOGDP: Yak hits Eller low in the corner during a dump and chase. Eller slashes Yak across the wrists. The gloves come off and they each get into their first fights of their young NHL careers.

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#48 Reinman
October 10 2013, 02:11PM
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1983 and This Year wrote:

If Yak had been playing with Perron the last 3 games, he would have had more quality scoring opportunities. You can't tell me his line mates don't matter.

I hate to keep bringing him up, but only because I never feels like he gets a fair shake.

Smyth on that 3rd line is death for Yak. Bring up Omark, and play Omark-Gordon-Yak. You got a 2-way center and a couple of gifted offensive players.

Give Omark 10 games, if he doesn't cut it, then send him back down. He is the best offensive talent we have on LW that is not on the roster... give him a shot. If the oilers did that and he didn't perform, fine, I won't mention his name again. He had had success pretty much everywhere he has played outside of the NHL. I beleive he has the talent, just wish Oilers brass would put some faith in him.

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#49 Wax Man Riley
October 10 2013, 03:23PM
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I can't believe how this organization is purposely ruining Yak's career by playing him on the 3rd line! He needs top 6 minutes....

....well... another young player ruined by the Oilers.

Avatar
#50 kgo
October 10 2013, 07:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Anyone know what the huge scar on the back of Perron's head is from?

Did he play with Corey Potter in juniors?

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