GDB 5.0: IT IS VERY SIMPLE...

Jason Gregor
October 12 2013 11:40AM

Ideally your team would win every game, but since no North American pro team other than the 1972 Miami Dolphins has done that, fans expect their team will lose a few games. There are certain games, however, where you desperately want your team to win. Tonight is one of those for Oilers' fans.

The Oilers don't play the Leafs very often, 90 times in 33 NHL seasons, but they are an easy organization to dislike. They haven't won a Stanley Cup in 46 years; they will extend that to 47 years in June, yet their fanbase acts like they are the darling franchise of the NHL.

My late father's favourite player was Dick Duff, great name, so there was no love for the Maple Leafs in our house. Dad wasn't a diehard Habs fan, but he loathed the Maple Leafs and I'm thankful I inherited the same disdain for the Leafs.

They've had some players I enjoyed watching: Borje Salming, Mike Palmateer, Wendel Clark and Tie Domi to name a few, but when their own captain, Mats Sundin, screws them over like he did it is clear even the players don't respect the organization.

Due to my job, I'm not a fan of the Oilers, but there are certain games where my inner-Edmontonian appears and I watch the game hoping the opposition sucks the hind banana. Tonight is one of those nights.

Oilers fans have endured a lot of losing the last decade, yet you still find the strength to turn on the TV and watch the Blue and Orange. The Oilers are making a rare early appearance on Hockey Night In Canada, and an Oiler victory could turn your evening into a "runaway" very quickly.

For your sake, and the sake of every drinking establishment in Edmonton, I hope it happens.

LINEUP

Hall-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle
Perron-Arcobello-Hemsky
Smyth/Joensuu-Gordon-Yakupov
Gazdic/Smyth-Acton-Brown

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

Dubnyk

The Oilers recalled Philip Larsen yesterday and sent Denis Grebeshkov down for a conditioning stint. Larsen is a natural RD, and he could give the Oilers more offence from the back end. He likely won't play tonight, but you will see Ladislav Smid back with Jeff Petry and Anton Belov back on the right side playing with Nick Schultz.

Eakins said if Jesse Joensuu is ready to go, he will play. That likely means Ryan Smyth or Luke Gazdic comes out of the lineup. Smyth scored the only goal last game, so it might be hard to take him out, however, the Oilers claimed Gazdic so when they played a team like Toronto they would have a heavyweight. It wll be interesting to see if Joensuu is ready, who Eakins sits.

***UPDATE*** Yakupov will be a healthy scratch.*** Clearly Eakins is making a statement regarding the 2nd Montreal goal last game.

Dubnyk played better on Thursday, but he'll need to be very good for the Oilers to skate away with a win. Jonathan Bernier has stopped 113 of 116 shots, .974SV%, and many Leafs fans are already writing his Vezina trophy speech. Remember when Nikolai Khabibulin had a .960 SV% at the end of October, 2011. How did that season end?

Bernier has played 3 1/2 games, and he's been stellar, but if the Leafs continue to give up 35 shots a game his numbers will drop significantly.

QUICK HITS....

  • Hall, RNH, Eberle, Perron, Hemsky and Yakupov need to capitalize on their chances. The Leafs are surrendering 34.8 shots per game thus far.
     
  • The Leafs draw a lot of penalties and their PP is red-hot, 28.6%. The Oilers will need to keep their feet moving and not take stick infractions. The Leafs have drawn 15 tripping, hooking, slashing and interference penalties thus far. The Oilers will need to skate with them.
     
  • Kessel leads the Leafs with 6 points in 5 games, and he's 2nd in the NHL in shots with 26. Eakins must avoid having his 4th line out against them.
     
  • The 4th line has to stop icing the puck, or they will see a lot of Kessel's line. It is clear Gadzik has been told to just get the puck out of the zone, but he has to stop icing it, or at the very least take a few extra strides, get to centre and then dump it in. He's iced the puck too often so far.
     
  • Eberle has five goals in four games vs. the Leafs. I sense he or Yakupov will end their goal-scoring drought tonight.
     
  • Previous meetings between these two clubs have no impact on tonight's game, but the Oilers have scored 3 or more goals in their last 5 games in Toronto. Hopefully we see a high-scoring game tonight.
     
  • The Western conference is 18-5-2 vs. the East thus far. Both the Oilers and Leafs are 1-1 in inter-conference play.

LOOKING AHEAD...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers skate away with a 4-3 victory and silence the Vezina talk of Bernier.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: This is the easy, if Gazdic plays, he and Colton Orr drop the mitts early in the first period. If he sits, then I'll go with the other obvious prediciton; Joffrey Lupul, a former Oiler, scores against his Oilers.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Jeff Petry averages a point-per-game against the Leafs. He's only played them twice, but he has a goal and an assist. Petry will actually use his heavy slap shot tonight, and he'll beat Bernier for his 2nd goal of the season.

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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#301 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 10:05PM
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@Czar

Really, I seen a bad Leafs team out play and out chance the Oilers in the first, granted the Oilers had an outstanding second and not a bad third, but tell me who won again?

Wait till the trip is over, then tell me it's not a little of everything, including coaching & coaching decisions .

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#302 Shaun Doe
October 12 2013, 10:09PM
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I know the answer is probably more than we are willing to offer but what would it take to pry jake Allen out of st louis

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#303 madjam
October 12 2013, 10:12PM
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GOOD NEWS - BAD NEWS . OKC loses 1-0 to Iowa . However R.Bachman stops 28of 29 shots . Bring the guy up and let Dubbie go back and find his game . -1 were Omark , Lander, Pitlick , Grebs and Davidson .

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#304 Harry
October 12 2013, 10:13PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

How much is anyone willing to give up to get Ryan Miller?

We have more than enough assets to get Miller. Gags, marincin or klef, 1st rnd pic. I dont care if we have to over pay. MAKE IT HAPPEN

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#305 DSF
October 12 2013, 10:17PM
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gord962 wrote:

Outplayed? Not even close. Dubnyk has been brutal so far. The Oilers are outshooting, outchancing and outplaying the opposition so far this year.

5 GA/G

Worst in the NHL.

Results matter.

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#306 Alsker
October 12 2013, 10:19PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Well, like Wes mentioned, if he signed an extension it might be worth while. Not so sure he's willing to come out west or forego his UFA opportunity.

What would it cost to get that Gibson kid out of Anaheim, maybe something could be done with the Ducks for a goolie.

Still not sold on Miller(seems to have an attitude issue) but at this point Im willing to try almost anyone. Almost being the important word. Dont care if hes from ECHL, AHL, KHL..wherever, if he can stop the ones you expect and the odd one you dont, hes got my vote.

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#307 Cold Hard Truth
October 12 2013, 10:25PM
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Don't look for MacTavish to remedy this team; he is part of the problem.

The fish rots from the head down. Maybe after this season, Katz will finally cut Lowe & co. loose.

We need to stop praising the Oilers and drop this 'rebuild' nonsense.

Things won't get better until then.

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#308 Alsker
October 12 2013, 10:30PM
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At least the Cansucks are losing. Seeing those old jerseys vs. leHabs reminds me of being a kid when Van joined the NHL, they couldnt help but lose 7-1 every time, lol..

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#309 Alsker
October 12 2013, 10:31PM
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At least the Cansucks are losing. Seeing those old jerseys vs. leHabs reminds me of being a kid when Van joined the NHL, they couldnt help but lose 7-1 every time, lol..

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#310 gord962
October 12 2013, 10:32PM
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DSF wrote:

5 GA/G

Worst in the NHL.

Results matter.

No doubt results matter. You said they were outplayed. That isn't the truth. When your starting goalie can't keep the puck out of his net on routine saves it is not a matter of a coaching problem, effort or chances. This is strictly a goaltending problem we are witnessing. Go troll somewhere else.

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#311 Quicksilver ballet
October 12 2013, 10:32PM
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@Alsker

If only Antti Raanta had chosen Edmonton last summer. He could be starting in the NHL rather than buried in the AHL. The Oilers were certainly the path of least resistance.

Nearly 8 yrs into Dubnyk, what a waste.

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#312 DSF
October 12 2013, 10:53PM
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gord962 wrote:

No doubt results matter. You said they were outplayed. That isn't the truth. When your starting goalie can't keep the puck out of his net on routine saves it is not a matter of a coaching problem, effort or chances. This is strictly a goaltending problem we are witnessing. Go troll somewhere else.

You don't give up 5 goals against EVERY game by outplaying other teams.

The Oilers are a dreadful defensive team.

Take a look at Justin Schultz' performance in all 5 games.

He should be in the AHL.

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#313 Alsker
October 12 2013, 11:08PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

If only Antti Raanta had chosen Edmonton last summer. He could be starting in the NHL rather than buried in the AHL. The Oilers were certainly the path of least resistance.

Nearly 8 yrs into Dubnyk, what a waste.

No sh*t, hard to imagine which side is more disappointed. 8 years into Dubby made me wonder who the last goalie we developed was. Moog/Fuhr were drafted by us, B. Ranford, Cujo, Rollie, Salo were all traded for, JDD was a bust. Is there a theme here? Raanta, Miller, Bryz(scary if you ask me), who would you seriously persue?

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#314 TDSM31
October 12 2013, 11:10PM
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Almost a moot point after 7 pages of posts but I'll throw in as well...Devan Dubnyk is not an NHL starting goaltender and does not have the talent to ever be one. I, like a lot of you, are getting sick of saying this.

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#315 Rob...
October 12 2013, 11:58PM
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Grant Fuhr's goals against average never dipped below 3 while an Oiler. It'd be nice if Oiler scoring surpassed Dubnyk's mistakes so we could gloss it over shut the trolls up.

Poor Ryan Smyth... he must be super pissed that Devin ruined his chance to play hero in an Oilers victory. The guy was counting on the PR boost.

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#316 Alsker
October 13 2013, 12:08AM
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Rob... wrote:

Grant Fuhr's goals against average never dipped below 3 while an Oiler. It'd be nice if Oiler scoring surpassed Dubnyk's mistakes so we could gloss it over shut the trolls up.

Poor Ryan Smyth... he must be super pissed that Devin ruined his chance to play hero in an Oilers victory. The guy was counting on the PR boost.

Maybe Smitty's play is 'cause he's reliving '06. Not only in his mind but on the ice as well. Wonder how many times he asks MacT when hes going to trade for Rollie???

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#317 otter2233
October 13 2013, 02:57AM
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@Alsker

No dispute Dubnyk has been terrible but does that mean the skaters mean nothing too?

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#318 otter2233
October 13 2013, 03:00AM
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Alsker wrote:

How much of that does our .8something SP have to do it??

Yeah I guess the players that were actually on the ice has nothing to do with a PK success

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#319 Spydyr
October 13 2013, 07:27AM
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Alsker wrote:

Maybe Smitty's play is 'cause he's reliving '06. Not only in his mind but on the ice as well. Wonder how many times he asks MacT when hes going to trade for Rollie???

How about finding the next Rollie?

That is what a good GM would do right now.

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#320 michael
October 13 2013, 07:39AM
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Spydyr wrote:

They can only play four centres .Please enlighten me with your four.

Mine are:

1)RNH

2)Gagner

3)Gordon

4)As the team stated today Acton.

RNH-Hall and Yak

Arco-eberle-Perron

gagner- hemsky-jonnesuu

Gordon-brown-smyth

acton gadzic.

options are going to be many. arco is playing really well. you send him down. you would give away goals and assists in exchange for face off wins?

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#321 Quicksilver ballet
October 13 2013, 09:30AM
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Alsker wrote:

No sh*t, hard to imagine which side is more disappointed. 8 years into Dubby made me wonder who the last goalie we developed was. Moog/Fuhr were drafted by us, B. Ranford, Cujo, Rollie, Salo were all traded for, JDD was a bust. Is there a theme here? Raanta, Miller, Bryz(scary if you ask me), who would you seriously persue?

There's a number of guys UFA eligible next summer. Hiller, Halak, Elliot, all more affordable options i'h have to think. Those guys could be had now for a smaller price i'm sure.

At this point, try and make a deal for any one of them. If it's Ryan Miller, they need to get a 5 yr extension done. Maybe the attitude thing has to do with him needing a fresh start elsewhere.

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#322 Oilcruzer
October 13 2013, 09:34AM
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On the positive side, no one is whining about the centre "problem" anymore.

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#323 Oilcruzer
October 13 2013, 09:38AM
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Alsker wrote:

No sh*t, hard to imagine which side is more disappointed. 8 years into Dubby made me wonder who the last goalie we developed was. Moog/Fuhr were drafted by us, B. Ranford, Cujo, Rollie, Salo were all traded for, JDD was a bust. Is there a theme here? Raanta, Miller, Bryz(scary if you ask me), who would you seriously persue?

You look at every team's backup. That's how Roly finally got his shot.

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#324 Czar
October 13 2013, 10:27AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Really, I seen a bad Leafs team out play and out chance the Oilers in the first, granted the Oilers had an outstanding second and not a bad third, but tell me who won again?

Wait till the trip is over, then tell me it's not a little of everything, including coaching & coaching decisions .

That BAD Leaf team should be 4-2 instead of 5-1

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#325 2004Z06
October 13 2013, 10:46AM
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John wrote:

It was crazy to sit Yaks! He's leading the team in chances during even strength minutes (4.8 chances/15 ES minutes) Maybe Eakins should be in the press box for the next game!

Yakupov's jersey will say Pilsbury on the back when he returns from the press box. What games are you watching? He is not embracing the team concept, playing one on four and then turning the puck over is what got his ass in the box. not his offensive prowess. He has to learn to play more responsibly.

J. Schultz will be next. He needs to learn when it is ok to pinch and when not to.

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#326 gord962
October 15 2013, 02:38PM
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DSF wrote:

You don't give up 5 goals against EVERY game by outplaying other teams.

The Oilers are a dreadful defensive team.

Take a look at Justin Schultz' performance in all 5 games.

He should be in the AHL.

Ya, because the goalies can't stop a beachball. Scoring chances for Oilers is far > the oppositions.

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