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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#1 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 09:09PM
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I stated other day.

If Eakins is holding people accountable

Dubnyk should sit the next game,

In the press box..

In OKC

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#2 Jerod
October 12 2013, 09:08PM
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No confidence in your Goalie kills the team.

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#3 gord962
October 12 2013, 09:05PM
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Eakins system hasn't been the problem. The Oilers outshot, outchanced and outplayed the opposition again tonight. The fact that Dubnyk has not made 1 key save yet this year is why the Oilers can't win.

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#4 Czar
October 12 2013, 09:10PM
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bulldog12 wrote:

That lose is totally on Eakins Why is Hemsky and Hall out in the last minute and why wasn't Gordon or Acrobello taking the face off BRUTAL I hope he figures it out soon

What was BRUTAL was Dubnyk not freezing the puck to get Gordon on the ice with less than a minute to play. Eakins had the leafs playing Oiler hockey most if the night, coaching wasn't the problem.

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#5 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 12 2013, 11:48AM
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Hall - Nuge - Yak as the first line, do it up Eakins! Give the Russian dynamo some skill to play with.

Has there ever been a line of 1st overalls playing their natural positions, for the team that drafted them?

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#6 DSF
October 12 2013, 07:59PM
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I really need Willis to come by and tell me Dubnyk is an average NHL goaltender again.

.769

Good grief

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#7 I tried it at home
October 12 2013, 07:44PM
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OK, enough is enough, Im jumping on the "get another goalie" wagon. Any room left?

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#8 dougtheslug
October 12 2013, 03:56PM
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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??????

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#9 Czar
October 12 2013, 08:39PM
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DSF wrote:

All hat.

No cattle.

See ya Dallas.

You can't blame Dallas, Doobie left the gate open.

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#10 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 09:00PM
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bulldog12 wrote:

That lose is totally on Eakins Why is Hemsky and Hall out in the last minute and why wasn't Gordon or Acrobello taking the face off BRUTAL I hope he figures it out soon

Yeah he sat the wrong player,Dubnyk should have been eating popcorn.

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#11 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 09:04PM
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Time to panic men. I encourage mayhem and ridiculous trade suggestions.

Has Rick Dipeitro been skating?

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#13 Bloodsweatandoil
October 12 2013, 09:09PM
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Dubnyk should have been pulled after the Kadri goal from the corner. Who is kidding who here? For every goal Dubnyk lets in during the game, the team has to score two to counter it! He is now draining his team mates, worse than before, the Oilers had the game won three times tonight!

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#14 dawgtoy
October 12 2013, 09:33PM
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@Walter Sobchak

Eakins at worst should be 3-2. The system is working, the keeper is a sieve.

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#15 oilman3
October 12 2013, 08:19PM
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i can't believe people are trashing eakins. we are outshooting and outplaying the opposition and the work ethic is clearly getting better already. tonight was definitely the clincher for me on dubnyk though. the oilers were clearly the better team and yet dubnyk finds a way to get us another loss. that being said, i don't know what the solution is. people ragging on mact clearly haven't paid attention to the efforts he made to get a number one goalie. if he would have given up the laughable asking price for schneider i would have lost my mind. i really wish they could have gotten anderson here when they ended up signing khabibulin but i really don't know what the best option is right now. after tonight i can say i would love to never see dubnyk play for us again but we need someone who can take his job.

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#16 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:55PM
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26 shots.

6 goals.

BUT THE CORSI, BUT THE CORSI!

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#17 bwar
October 12 2013, 08:18PM
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Hard to be in Dudnyk's corner after that performance.

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#18 Harry
October 12 2013, 07:55PM
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So hapoy with our game tonight. We dominated the leafs for most of this game.

That being said.....MACT DO YOUR FRIGGIN JOB AND FIND US A GOALIE!!!

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#19 DCC
October 12 2013, 07:48PM
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This goaltending situation has GOT to be demoralizing for the rest of the team. Apparently we need to score 7 goals per game to have a chance.

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#20 Ari Gold
October 12 2013, 01:17PM
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I'm in full blown hatred of the Leafs, their fans, and their organization. They're almost at the top of my 'choke a small kitten' hate-list right behind the Canucks.

I hope Gadzik shatters Orr's left orbital bone. I hope Hall destroys Kessel in a clean open-ice hit. And I hope Yak dangles Bernier right out of his hip.

I don't just want a win tonight, I want blood. Get it done Oil!

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#21 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 07:59PM
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I am officially off of supporting Dubnyk.

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#22 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 12 2013, 12:31PM
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Spydyr wrote:

This is the what could of been game:

Dubnyk : .874 Sv% 5.27 GAA

Bernier :.974 Sv% .85 GAA

One of them is not like the other.

Now you can tell me about the small sample size.

small sample size.

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#23 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:45PM
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Honest to god.

There is a reason it's called a SAVE.

Dubnyk makes no 'saves'. Makes some stops, ZERO saves.

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#24 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 07:53PM
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If I see another Dubnyk blog that says he needs to work thru it, I will flip out. You have to establish you are good before you can have a chance to work your way back there.

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#25 Gerald R. Ford
October 12 2013, 07:56PM
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You'd think it wouldn't hurt as much, knowing it's going to happen...

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#26 jonny94
October 12 2013, 08:22PM
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I' hope MacT addresses this now. He didn't have faith in Dubnyk before the season started and Dubnyk has done nothing to earn it now.

How are we ever going to win a game if it's expected from our forwards to score 5 goals a game? Unsustainable.

If were trusting in MacT I hope he keeps trying to find a goalie.

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#27 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:21PM
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bwar wrote:

Hard to be in Dudnyk's corner after that performance.

Perhaps one or two of the Dubnyk supporters who write for this site will admit to the error of their ways and post a "I was wrong my bad article."

Nah, it is a small sample size right?

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#28 Czar
October 12 2013, 09:35PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Eakins system is flawed! He's definitely part of the problem.

Doobie does his job and the system isn't an issue.Did you watch the game tonight? If it wasn't for one hole in the line up we win tonight.

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#29 Alsker
October 12 2013, 07:44PM
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R u f%^kin kidding me...can we not get 1 big save for 4million a year!!!

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#30 EP
October 12 2013, 07:47PM
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Get Bryzgalov right now!!!

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#31 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:33PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Simple. Gagner is not a center. Trash away......Besides you are going to need Gagner on the wing when you HAVE to trade Yak or Eberle to get a damn goalie!

I would trade Gagner 100 times before trading Yak or Ebs.

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#32 gord962
October 12 2013, 09:01PM
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jonny94 wrote:

I' hope MacT addresses this now. He didn't have faith in Dubnyk before the season started and Dubnyk has done nothing to earn it now.

How are we ever going to win a game if it's expected from our forwards to score 5 goals a game? Unsustainable.

If were trusting in MacT I hope he keeps trying to find a goalie.

Scoring 5 goals did nothing tonight. They need to score 10 to have a chance for Dubnyk not to blow it.

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#33 Clarko
October 12 2013, 09:15PM
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Czar wrote:

What was BRUTAL was Dubnyk not freezing the puck to get Gordon on the ice with less than a minute to play. Eakins had the leafs playing Oiler hockey most if the night, coaching wasn't the problem.

Why would he freeze the puck? Gordon gives you a 60-70% chance to get possession. Dubnyk playing it to Hemsky gives you a 100% chance of getting the possession. You can blame a lot of Dubnyk tonight, but blaming him when the team had TWO chances to get the puck out after he played it is just piling on.

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#34 gord962
October 12 2013, 09:18PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Hard to have any sympathy for Eakins when he keeps shooting himself in the foot. Every little mistake is magnified when your goaltender can't stop a beach ball.

Keep passing that career backup off as a starter there Dallas. Putting Nail in the press box was certainly the solution tonight......Yak, you have our permission to kill our rookie coach now. The sooner the better.

And who should he put in?!?!? There is no capable NHL starter in the Oilers system. Not having a NHL starting goaltender is not Eakins' fault - he doesn't sign contracts. He is just the one who has to figure out how to score 6 goals a game to make up for MacT not being able to find one while not getting raped in a trade.

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#35 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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#36 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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#37 james_dean
October 12 2013, 12:44PM
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Don cherry will pump gazdics tires tonight

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#38 k
October 12 2013, 05:34PM
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Put Yak in net.

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#40 YFC Prez
October 12 2013, 06:00PM
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Oilers have the worst goaltending tandem in the league. Now someone disagree with me so I can tear you a new one.

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#41 DCC
October 12 2013, 08:04PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Did you see the "braintrust" after the winning goal?

New goalie coming in soon as DSF says.....book it.

I think you have accidentally inserted an extra "t" in "braintrust".

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#42 DSF
October 12 2013, 08:16PM
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steelymac wrote:

Really DSF??? Do you really have to tell everyone how F@^*kin smart you are?Really???

Yes.

Thanks.

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#43 Rod from Viking
October 12 2013, 08:53PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I missed the game tonight....did we win?.....How did Dubey play?

We deserved to, Dubey had a shut out for 3 minutes.

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#44 Keyser Soze
October 12 2013, 09:14PM
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As an Edmontonian living in Calgary for the last 20 years, I really thought I'd have the hammer this year. Thanks to Dubnyk letting in softies my grandma could stop and a compete level often less than the Shames it's going to be another long, long, long year. #IveHadEnough

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#45 gord962
October 12 2013, 10:00PM
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DSF wrote:

Sure I can.

The Oilers have been outplayed in 4 of 5 games.

And, it's just about to get harder.

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

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#46 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
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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#47 Garon
October 12 2013, 11:53AM
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I'm not judging you, Gregor, but I'm just kinda curious about this statement...

"Due to my job, I'm not a fan of the Oilers..."

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#48 TV6
October 12 2013, 12:50PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I hope that for the sake of the team Eakins stops with all the line tinkering and let's players get use to playing with their regular line mates.

Clearly this "SWARM" system ( or lack thereof) has not been understood by all the players and I suspect this will take time.......but for the love of god Dallas, stop putting our top offensive players out there to kill penalties. On any level having Hemsky and RNH killing penalties makes no sense. We have players who excel at this why not use that skill set appropriately?

So far I'm holding Eakins accountable for all the loses........mostly due to his retarded line combinations.

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

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#49 DSF
October 12 2013, 01:46PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

And do you think they will collapse under the weight of that luck, or are you like Serious Gord, convinced by the power of small samples sizes and big men?

And are you convinced if a coin flip produces 10 straight heads that the next flip has to be a tail?

Last season, Pittsburgh outshot their opposition by only 0.8 S/G yet managed to win 36 games.

At the same time, NJ outshot their opposition by 5.3 S/G yet only managed 19 wins.

While I agree out shooting your opponent is generally a good idea, there is so much noise involved and so many other factors that are ignored, using shot metrics as a predictor is pretty weak unless you have the common sense to drill down and look at coaching strategy, goaltending quality and a host of other relevant factors.

Otherwise you end up looking like a fool.

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#50 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:43PM
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Dubnyk.....stop something,anything.

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