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
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#101 Alsker
October 12 2013, 09:24PM
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Keyser Soze wrote:

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

First off, my deepest condolences for being trapped in the city of cows. As for this season it will be a lot closer come Mar/Apr than it appears now. Though granted that's still a win/win for the fLames.

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#102 Dubs-nik
October 12 2013, 11:44AM
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About to give t.o one of the fist loses of the year, yak city!

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#103 The Towel Boy
October 12 2013, 12:22PM
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"an Oiler victory could turn your evening into a "runaway" very quickly."

Amen!

Although, I am planing to run away freely this evening no matter what the outcome is.

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#104 #ThereGoesTheOilers
October 12 2013, 12:41PM
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@Jason Gregor

Early retirement Jason? Eventually we'll be back in the win column and it'll be mighty hard to remain impartial then.

I do appreciate your honest loathing though. Throw some hate Vancouver's way for me, would ya?

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#105 Time Travelling Sean
October 12 2013, 12:49PM
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Don't lose, play hard, and win.

I remember my first game I went to, I was like 11 or 12, and we were facing the Florida Panthers (We won 5-0) and there were Maple Leaf fans in that game, booing whenever we scored a goal. I mean, they make you rejoice and smile whenever something awful happens. (Thanks Bruins).

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#106 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:34PM
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That was ugly...it wasnt easy to get out of the way of that shot...epic!!

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#107 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:36PM
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Alsker wrote:

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

Either does Dubbie.

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#108 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:50PM
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NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEE

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#109 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:25PM
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My daughters timbit team plays that same defensive system.

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#110 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:22PM
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Okay apologists, explain to us why Dubnyk isn't pathetic again.

Get me Louie Debrusk, stat!

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#111 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 07:26PM
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Eberle is back. Finally. Lol

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#112 Alsker
October 12 2013, 07:29PM
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We're winning inspite of Dubbys efforts.

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#113 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:36PM
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JJ putting Phaneuf on his a$$.Sweet I missed that in the Oilers team the last few seasons.

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#114 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:39PM
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Have no seen this much try from Smyth in a long time.Good to see.Like the old days.

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#115 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:44PM
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I hate when Dubnyk stands up with his stick off the ice when the puck is 30 feet from him.Stop being so lazy and get in your crouch like every other NHL goalie.

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#116 Harry
October 12 2013, 07:48PM
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Anyone who writes columns on how dd is a good starter in this league is a complete retard.

He is a good 15-20 game backup at most. Absolutely brutal. 3 terrible goals should be a 5-2 win. Puck me running!!!!

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#117 Shifty203
October 12 2013, 07:56PM
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Harry wrote:

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!!!

Doesn't matter if we get a new goalie. This team is horrendous on defence, and will hang that goalie out to dry as well.

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#118 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 08:02PM
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@Oilcruzer

I took pleasure in seeing their reaction. They deserve to suffer. They have made oiler fans suffer at the hands of their incompetency for a long time now.

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#119 Alsker
October 12 2013, 08:20PM
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Tokenhill wrote:

When gagner comes back...and when we insert THE Yak back into the line up...we are gonna have some pretty good forward DEPTH that we haven't enjoyed in quite a long time =)

That is...if acrobello and Joensuu and Smyth can play consistently well.

despite the loss. if we play like this every game. we will at least be COMPETING in NHL and not...used as a bunching bag

Granted, and your optimism is welcomed BUT ELPH was a couple of years ago, its time to see his team stand tall on stair #1 not tread water all season. Dont get me wrong, I admire the effort and how close this was to a victory, but it was still a loss. Its time that losses are no longer acceptable providing we were competetive. We must move forward, NOW!!!

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#120 Alsker
October 12 2013, 08:52PM
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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?

You missed an entertaining goal filled spectacle. As per norm though Dubby was doing his best Conklin impersonation, better maybe, 3 uglies and we lose in overtime. Forwards played well, the D, ok, we deserved better tonight, but oh well.

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#121 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 09:32PM
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Rob Brown from the Oilers after party show just mocked a caller,

" you can't trade for a number one goalie! And definitely not for a first round pick"

Sooooo Brownie, explain the goalie you just watched the new NJD goalie! I swear anyone employed with the Oilers have half brains!

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#122 Oiler63
October 12 2013, 09:39PM
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The best time to address goalie problem has passed.. Now teams know oilers desperately need a goalie they will ask a hefty price... oilers are stuck between a rock and a very hard place.

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#123 Alsker
October 12 2013, 09:56PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

That pick looks like a top 5 again. MacTavish gave it his best effort to upgrade all summer. Might as well ride this ship show out and go after next summers hired guns.

Miller would just be a rental. I'm a little gun shy about surrendering to possible top 5 pick for a short term solution.

Enough is enough, another top 5 pick doesnt help our goaltending situation nor does Miller(IMO) if we must move our 1st than so be it. We gave up a first for Rollie and see where that got us, Bold move, give up next years first and a roster spot if necessary top solve this years problems. But identify and address ALL our problems. Wether from within or by trade, just do it!!!!!

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#124 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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#125 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 12 2013, 12:09PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

I could be way out to lunch here, but you may have misread his comment too. Team 1260 was bought by TSN, buddy was making a joke.

I think anyway. You crazy kids and your rap music and Pac Man video games

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#126 Rama Lama
October 12 2013, 12:22PM
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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.

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#127 South of Cowtown
October 12 2013, 12:50PM
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In my humble opinion, the Leafs are already planning the parade for June. For that reason alone, the Oil, nay the whole league, should beat on them like a red headed stepchild. That being said, the Oil is probably going to get beat on tonight. TO is big and can play mean. Not the Oil's favorite type of game. 5-2 Leafs. And I hate saying that. Prove me wrong Oilers. Please.

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#128 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 12 2013, 01:56PM
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I know this is weird, but I kinda missed DSF. Where you been man, there's been a plethora of opportunities for you to bash the Oil the last week or two.

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#129 LoweBlow
October 12 2013, 02:21PM
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DSF wrote:

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.

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....

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#130 OilClog
October 12 2013, 05:10PM
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Yak is HS'd?!?!? Wow. Ridiculous

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#131 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:23PM
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Eakins is trying to find a scape goat for repeated bad coaching decisions.

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#132 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:49PM
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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.

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#133 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:54PM
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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.

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#134 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 07:23PM
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Ya Dubby looked lazy on that goal

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#135 The Real Scuba Steve
October 12 2013, 07:52PM
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Brutal...

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#136 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:52PM
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Huh.

5-hole.

Stunning.

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#137 NYR+EDM=TRADE
October 12 2013, 08:07PM
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Dallas system is fine, their trying to weed out the old B>S system from the other lazyass coaches that gave this team an excuse every night. Dubnyk has to go, you have to make a save in a key situation and 3 of them were save-able. He's 6'6 and plays like he's 6'0 is sad to see. I'm telling you guys now, wonder would NYR make a trade to lower there cap since Lunquisdt is having a bad start trade for dubs and something else to snag a D-man from NYR?

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#138 Slats
October 12 2013, 08:33PM
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Missed most of the game but so the end of the game high/lowlights to see 3 goals go in that were just layered for the middle of the net. For all you posters out there you don't need a #1 to make those saves sorry . . . .

Maybe Mac T can work a trade for that young kid called Shooter Tutor?

In Labarbara we Trust from here on in!

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#139 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 08:53PM
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I give up on the Oilers. Is it to late to become a Flames fan. At lease their rebuild lasted a year. OMG it think I'm going crazy I need help

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#140 bulldog12
October 12 2013, 08:57PM
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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

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#141 Clarko
October 12 2013, 09:00PM
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I'm not nearly as ready a some to give up on this season yet. The Oilers have 3 points in 5 games and while that isn't nearly good enough, it isn't a complete disaster yet.

They outplayed the Leafs tonight and probably deserved to win...easily their best game 5-on-5. Dubnyk has to be much better, but unlike most commenters, I'm not ready to give up on him after 3 bad games. He played very well last year and hopefully he returns to form.

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#142 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 09:24PM
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Czar wrote:

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

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

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#143 EP
October 12 2013, 09:31PM
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Unfortunately our goaltending situation leaves MacT dealing from a position of weakness. Teams willing to trade a goalie that might help us, can name their price. I'm not a huge Bryzgalov fan, but if we can get him on a one year deal, he'll only cost us a roster spot and $$$. We then look to next summer to make a deal for a goalie. Can Bryzgalov really be any worse than what we have now?

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#144 Czar
October 12 2013, 09:44PM
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Clarko wrote:

And if he freezes the puck and the Leafs score off the draw, I'm sure you would have blamed him for that too...

I'm in agreement that Dubnyk was at fault tonight for the loss, but blaming him when two different Oilers gave the puck away is ridiculous. To me, his thinking there was I can keep the clock running, give the puck to one of my players who has clear possession and NOT get the Leafs a chance to set things up off a faceoff. A faceoff gives the Leafs an opportunity get setup.

No, it didn't work out, but the right decision doesn't always result in perfect results.

IF the leafs win the draw, and IF they did score I probably would have blamed Doobie because he couldn't stop a beach ball tonight.

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#145 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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#146 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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#147 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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#148 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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#149 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 12 2013, 12:04PM
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tileguy wrote:

Doesn't the Toronto Sports Network sign your cheques now?

" but there are certain games where my inner-Edmontonian appears and I watch the game hoping the opposition sucks the hind banana"

I think you misread that... he wants the leafs to be badly outplayed.

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#150 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 12:18PM
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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.

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