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 

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
#51 David S
October 12 2013, 03:07PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
3
props
Ari Gold wrote:

You hit the nail on the head this time DSF. I 100% agree. Though the Oilers do generally get outshot because they're the lesser of the two teams.

For the past 7 years the Oil have been the super hot but dumb as a post girlfriend that I can bring myself to cut loose. Cool-Aid please....

Because all your friends will ride you forever for letting that once in a life timer go.

Also, her underlying stats are probably keeping you interested, not to mention her lifetime Chick Corsi.

Avatar
#52 Rama Lama
October 12 2013, 03:24PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
1
props
TV6 wrote:

What is wrong with having your Top end talent on the PK..?

RNH is arguably the best Oiler forward at BOTH ends of the rink. How is it a negative thing for him to be playing on the PK..?

Having players who can turn the disc up the ice & make something happen offensively keeps the opposing teams P.P. honest & a little bit back on their heels.

I personally want to see MORE of this from the Bench Boss. Maybe not Hemsky per say, but a lot more of RNH, Hall & Eberle for damn sure.

x6

I love RNH, Ebs, Hall, Yaks.....and would love to see them play all the time but reality bites!

You can't have your best offensive players playing their regular shifts, the PP, and then the PK........and expect them not to be tired. Exactly what was the point of getting Gordon, Jossenu, and others if we are scared to play them?

By your own rationale would it make sense to play Gordon on the PP?

I like the fact that Eakins thinks outside of the box but you cant play your top players 30 minutes a game because you covet fitness and want to test them.

He has been out coached every game so far and the team looks disorganized.......plain and simple!

Avatar
#53 ShakyDS
October 12 2013, 03:42PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
1
props

NSOGDP

The Oilers will trail by 3 goals in the third period, coach Eakins will pull Dubnyk with 11minutes to go and put out a sixth skater.

Avatar
#54 DSF
October 12 2013, 03:46PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
4
props
Walter Sobchak wrote:

If I may ask.

Serious question

If Corsi is counting all shots good and bad, a team could have 20 perimeter shots and say…5 real good quality shots and out shoot the opposition 25 – 20 yet lose like the Oilers have been, yet the other team of those 20 shots 10 of those were actual grade “A” scoring chances would Corsi even be relevant?

I go to the games, I hear Stauffer going on and on about the Oilers Corsi being so good that soon or later the Oilers will start winning, yet I’ve witnessed the other team completely out chance the Oilers?

Corsi has lots of flaws and you've identified one.

Some coaches, including Randy Carlyle, don't care how many low percentage shots the other team takes and he also preaches hanging on to the puck in the offensive zone until his players have a good scoring chance.

Corsi, like patriotism, can be the last refuge of the scoundrel (loser).

Avatar
#55 dougtheslug
October 12 2013, 03:56PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
22
props

I know it is early days and the sample size is small and our Corsi rel is trending in the right direction and our OZ faceoff win percentage is improving. Still, I have have some random thoughts about this young season:

1. The team to our south has 4 wins so far, a lofty total I don't see the Oilers matching until sometime in mid-November. And the Flames have done that missing two key players due to injury. Is the theory that a rebuild should take the better part of a decade incorrect? Could Bob Stauffer be wrong about something? Just asking.

2. I note, in passing, that the Flames number one draft pick, sixth overall, from 2013, has 2 more goals than the Oilers number 1 overall picks from 2010, 2011, and 2012 combined. I know, early days, small sample size, Corsi rel trending in the right direction, etc. I'm not saying it means anything. I'm just saying.

3. I also note that the Montreal Canadiens first round pick from 2012, a large playmaking center drafted off the same team as Nail Yakupov, is leading the league in scoring, while the Yak is still searching for his first point. I know, small sample size size, Corsi rel trending, yada, yada....and I'm not saying that the Oilers ability, in less than one season, to transform the most exuberant, joyful hockey player we have seen in many a year, into a listless,dispirited forward who looks utterly lost on the ice, is an indictment of their ability to draft and develop hockey talent. I'm just saying.

4. I note that Dallas Eakins defensive zone coverage system, impressively labelled "The Swarm", bears more than a passing resemblance to the defensive zone system employed by his predecessors, Messrs. Renne and Krueger, as system known around the league as "The Chinese Fire Drill". (No offence intended toward our Asian-Canadian brethren)

5. I note as well that the deficiencies that have prevented our team from resembling a professional hockey team over the past four seasons (center ice depth, competent goaltending, a defenseman that can play defence, team size and toughness..), deficiencies that have been expounded upon at length by the members of ON, have been addressed not at all. Which brings me to me final point.....

6. Kevin Lowe still has his job. Now I know he knows something about winning hockey, because he told me he does. And I know I'm just a Tier Two fan because I don't actually have season tickets, although I have watched, and lived, and died (recently, mostly died) with the Oilers since they appeared in the early seventies. But the fact that he still has a job???? WTF??????

Avatar
#56 Tile guy
October 12 2013, 04:25PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
1
props

@dougtheslug

Doogie, Dougie, Dougie, what,s the matter, kook aid glass empty? I propped ya brother.

Avatar
#57 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 04:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Walter Sobchak wrote:

@Spydyr

Forget the road trip! I see two games the Oilers MIGHT win given how they have played the rest of the Month!

Yeah me too, but i was trying to be optimistic.

Avatar
#58 Johe
October 12 2013, 04:58PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
0
props

Debbie downers.

Avatar
#60 Tile guy
October 12 2013, 05:06PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
0
props

Perhaps there is something to this oilers might being stupid, yak attach sacked for tonight. Klowe, did you make that decision?

Avatar
#61 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props

@dougtheslug

Ok, it is early and the 3rd coach in 3 years(less the asst.s who must be really good to survive 3 coaching changes) so system/development may be understood(in the short term) BUT as for points 5+6, well, obviously we(fans) dont understand how a hockey team works. You fail miserably and claim its rebuild time,you continue to fail so you blame a coach, a coach, a coach, trainers, the guy who washes the floor,etc. and if all goes well the guy paying the bills is way to busy to give a flying f%^k and you still are employed. Hmm, doubt the 40 pounder of Capt.Morgans the kids got for me to enjoy the season is going to last til christmas. Spiked Kool-aid for everyone!!!

Avatar
#62 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:08PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
1
props
Johe wrote:

Debbie downers.

You watched the games so far this year,right?

I would call it reasonable expectations.

I love the Oilers and cheer for them to win every game.Most times the last few decades they tend to disappoint.This year seems no different.

Avatar
#63 OilClog
October 12 2013, 05:10PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
5
props

Yak is HS'd?!?!? Wow. Ridiculous

Avatar
#64 Newj
October 12 2013, 05:12PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
1
props
Jason Gregor wrote:

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

That's a ballsy move. Not saying it should'nt be done, but bustin' that kid's balls may backfire. Confidence and self worth must be loosing traction on that 19 year old. Lets hope that is the right move.

Avatar
#65 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 05:13PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
1
props

Remember the last season the Oil started 4 & 0? How did that one go? Oh.

Predicting April spots mid October is a bit ridiculous.

The only stat that matters is GF > GA. It's usually a formula for success.

Avatar
#66 k
October 12 2013, 05:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props
Jason Gregor wrote:

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

I'd like to hear Eakins comments on scratching Yak....

Avatar
#67 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:15PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
2
props
OilClog wrote:

Yak is HS'd?!?!? Wow. Ridiculous

It HAS to be a statement.Otherwise siting Yak and dressing Smyth is a terrible coaching decision,just terrible.

Avatar
#68 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 05:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props
Jason Gregor wrote:

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

Really? So with the third goal, then that strategy would bench the Nuge.

Avatar
#69 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 05:18PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
4
props
Jason Gregor wrote:

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

Outrageous that he's a scratch. The kid has not played a full season yet. I hope this shoddy treatment doesn't damage him.

Avatar
#70 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:19PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
2
props
Oilcruzer wrote:

Really? So with the third goal, then that strategy would bench the Nuge.

Might as well bench Eberle too for all he was done this year.Bad,bad decision.The kid has to much upside.Give him the experience on the ice.

Avatar
#71 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Oilcruzer wrote:

Really? So with the third goal, then that strategy would bench the Nuge.

^ This!

Avatar
#72 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:23PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
+1
5
props

Eakins is trying to find a scape goat for repeated bad coaching decisions.

Avatar
#73 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:24PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
3
props

Yak has played with plumbers this year and most of his career here.Last game he was with Smyth and Gordon.No wonder he is trying to do to much given the offensive juggernauts he played with. The kid is trying to make things happen.

Avatar
#74 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 12 2013, 05:25PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
8
props

Put Yak with Hall and Nuge, don't scratch the kid.

Can I get a good grief?

Avatar
#75 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:26PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
3
props
Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Put Yak with Hall and Nuge, don't scratch the kid.

Can I get a good grief?

good grief

Avatar
#76 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props
Spydyr wrote:

Might as well bench Eberle too for all he was done this year.Bad,bad decision.The kid has to much upside.Give him the experience on the ice.

Difference has been defensive coverage, Yak was the 2nd d-man on the PP when Van got their shorty, and as JG said vs. Montreal. Just hope he will spank the other 1st rounders when they deserve it.

Avatar
#77 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:28PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
1
props
Alsker wrote:

Difference has been defensive coverage, Yak was the 2nd d-man on the PP when Van got their shorty, and as JG said vs. Montreal. Just hope he will spank the other 1st rounders when they deserve it.

Sure the kid is making mistakes on the ice and I agree 100% with what you said.Now, do you think he is going to learn anything in the press box tonight?

He is being punished not coached.That's on the guy that sat him.

Avatar
#78 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Im not defending the decision, personally I would try and work out the D lapses. Oh, almost forgot thats what training camp/practice was for!!!

Avatar
#79 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
8
props

F-ing Dubbie.

Staring goalie my butt.

Avatar
#80 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
6
props

That was ugly...it wasnt easy to get out of the way of that shot...epic!!

Avatar
#81 k
October 12 2013, 05:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
11
props

Put Yak in net.

Avatar
#82 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
4
props

Brutal

Avatar
#83 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
7
props
Spydyr wrote:

F-ing Dubbie.

Staring goalie my butt.

Down on one knee b4 the shot again. I just dont get it.

Avatar
#84 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
7
props

The did the wrong healthy scratch.Dubbie is to blame for 3X the goals Yak is this year.

Avatar
#85 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
6
props
Alsker wrote:

Down on one knee b4 the shot again. I just dont get it.

Either does Dubbie.

Avatar
#86 Thumby
October 12 2013, 05:38PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
1
props

Why didn't Mac t trade Nurse for Schneider after Lou got him out of Van???

Avatar
#87 Thumby
October 12 2013, 05:40PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
0
props

Oh yeah I forgot... Lou knows how to build a team...

Avatar
#88 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
3
props
Thumby wrote:

Why didn't Mac t trade Nurse for Schneider after Lou got him out of Van???

Because like most experienced GM'S Lou know how important goaltending is.

Avatar
#90 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props
Spydyr wrote:

Either does Dubbie.

Good one, lol!!!

Avatar
#91 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props

The call was worse than the goal, BUT are we ever going to get that save that changes/keeps momentum!!!!!

Avatar
#92 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:49PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
5
props
Jason Gregor wrote:

Stamkos was scratched in his first NHL season, for two games. He bounced back fine.

Smyth was scratched and has scored in consecutive games. Unless Yakupov is fragile mentally he should respond with better play.

Don't have a problem with the sitting out, as long as he’s Eakins is consistent! Hall has given up around 4 goals this year, RNH made brutal give away last game vs MTL.

It seems one sided right now.

Avatar
#93 otter2233
October 12 2013, 05:49PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
1
props

I realize Eakins wants his star players on the ice more but enough of RNH and Hemsky on the PK. Seems that at least one or both are on the ice when the opposition scores with the man advantage. I would be completely surprised if Yak doesn't have one of his best games as a pro when he gets back in the lineup. Being pissed off seems like it would motivate the kid.

Avatar
#94 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
6
props

NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEE

Avatar
#95 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:54PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
5
props
otter2233 wrote:

I realize Eakins wants his star players on the ice more but enough of RNH and Hemsky on the PK. Seems that at least one or both are on the ice when the opposition scores with the man advantage. I would be completely surprised if Yak doesn't have one of his best games as a pro when he gets back in the lineup. Being pissed off seems like it would motivate the kid.

Personally I'm a fan of your best players on the PK.It gives them more ice time keeps their legs going and if there is a bad turnover you have a chance for a shorty.

Avatar
#96 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:59PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
3
props

Esks third and goal from the one to win the game and they fail.That is their season in a nutshell.

Avatar
#97 YFC Prez
October 12 2013, 06:00PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
11
props

Oilers have the worst goaltending tandem in the league. Now someone disagree with me so I can tear you a new one.

Avatar
#98 otter2233
October 12 2013, 06:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Spydyr wrote:

Personally I'm a fan of your best players on the PK.It gives them more ice time keeps their legs going and if there is a bad turnover you have a chance for a shorty.

I'm a fan of it to but some guys are just not good on the PK so why keep running them out there just to dig the puck out of the net again? Seems to me giving up a PK goal or two a game isn't quite worth the possibility of a SH goal once every 10-15 games or so. A top ten PK last year is 25th this year...

Avatar
#99 Alsker
October 12 2013, 06:06PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
0
props
Spydyr wrote:

Personally I'm a fan of your best players on the PK.It gives them more ice time keeps their legs going and if there is a bad turnover you have a chance for a shorty.

Turnovers are ok, but leaving your post(playing D man and heading for the blue paint) is NOT exceptable. It wasnt ok for Gretz, Mess, or any other forward playing the D-man position. Considering the amount of penalties we take having our offensive players taking PK roles is only a ggod thing.

Avatar
#100 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 06:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props

What happened in Vancouver dressing room????

Comments are closed for this article.