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   

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 Serious Gord
October 11 2013, 10:31AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Rotten Ron wrote:

Roy was coaching in the QMJHL

You're right of course. Mental mistake on my part. The point still stands however.

Avatar
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Outstanding! The best part is that it's a minny blog, and all the comments are pro-Jets.

Avatar
#153 Simpsonite
October 10 2013, 03:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Rob...

Uhhhhh only 3 shifts? Shoot I'd be a spoonful for at least half a game...

Avatar
#154 Shaun Doe
October 10 2013, 06:52PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
The Soup Fascist wrote:

Does the term "too much time on your hands" mean anything to you?

Seriously though, very inventive.

Ha ha yes, it's a sick day for me so time is something I have plenty of unfortunately

Avatar
#155 One cold Canadian
October 10 2013, 07:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Are we not able to watch this game on sportsnet OIL??

Avatar
#156 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 10 2013, 07:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

So they're showing poker and football instead of the game... And I'm stuck in camp with internet too crappy to stream.

Is it on SN Oil or SN1 at all?

Avatar
#157 Dennis
October 10 2013, 07:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

It isn't on my Sportsnet Oilers channel so I had to keep flipping through the guide and it was way far down the list on some other Sportsnet channel. Good grief!

Avatar
#158 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
October 10 2013, 07:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

Yes: SN1 (Channel 326 Shaw TV Edmonton)

Avatar
#159 One cold Canadian
October 10 2013, 08:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Anybody with shaw direct know where I can find the game?

Avatar
#160 YFC Prez
October 10 2013, 08:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@One cold Canadian

Sports net one oilers channel

Avatar
#161 One PO'd cold canadian
October 10 2013, 08:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ya, all I get is "temporarily unavailable" Looked forward to this for days.. Friends over.. Beer fridge stocked...

Na...this ain't gonna get messy at all...

Avatar
#162 Gong Show
October 10 2013, 08:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Also have Shaw Direct, game 'temporarily unavailable'. Can't get through on phone, their website is not working. Why couldn't this have happened to the CBC channel last weekend?

Avatar
#163 Gong Show
October 10 2013, 08:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

It's working now.

Avatar
#164 Harry
October 10 2013, 09:28PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

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

Avatar
#165 Slats
October 10 2013, 11:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Clarko

Listen to the Raw post game - I think you will hear Eakins say the same as me. Set up the shot right away and "start bombing right away" is what he says. Then go down low!

All I'm saying is pp goal early when you had two chances in first period would have got Habs on their heels after loss,night before - just sayin.

Avatar
#166 lolhockey
October 10 2013, 11:44PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

So maybe my comment on the first page wasn't so far off after all.

Avatar
#167 trolololo
October 11 2013, 12:37PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

0 for gregor , nice job

Comments are closed for this article.