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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#151 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 02:06PM
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I have been an Oilers fan my whole life.

(Just had to get that out of the way.) But, man I miss watching Ray Bourque play. I can remember the Bruins of the mid 90's always out shooting the opposition. Mostly due to Bourque's strong defensive work and accurate shooting.

It has been so long since the Oilers have had a #1D, that I almost forget what one looks like.

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#152 DSF
October 12 2013, 02:36PM
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LoweBlow 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....

To my eye, one of the best ways to assess how a team is playing, is to look at their 5V5 F/A.

A hot streak on the PP or a malfunction of the PK can distort things for a while but since playing on the PP or short handed are relatively rare events in a game, how team performs at evens gives you a much clearer picture.

It's still early and the sample sizes are very small but by 10 games we should start to see the trends.

Here's how the Oilers have done 5V5 F/A in the past 5 seasons.

09/10 0.75

10/11 0.74

11/12 0.91

12/13 0.90

13/14 0.50 (early days)

Keep an eye on that stat if you want to see how the team is playing.

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#153 DSF
October 12 2013, 03:46PM
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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).

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#154 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 05:18PM
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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.

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#155 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:35PM
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Brutal

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#156 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:15PM
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If you look at the Refs real close you can just make out the tops of their one piece leaf onesies.

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#157 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:19PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

15 to 8 face offs. Nice.

Sure is.No Gagner helps the face-off percentage.

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#158 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:27PM
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Spydyr wrote:

OK, now i see the onesies after that call on JJ.

I caught a glimpse on the Perron interference penalty.

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#159 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:31PM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

Accountability is good so long as Eakins is consistent.

I'm worried Eakins and mgmt has been singling Yakupov out because he's not an all-canadian, wonderbread player like the other wizz kids.

I want accoutability too; lets start with Lowe.

Don't you know Lowe knows what it takes to win.He has more rings then anyone active in hockey.He has six of them you know.

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#160 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:41PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

I may be Acton crazy. Just a little.

If that is not a pun it should be.

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#161 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:47PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

The game card said Eberle is playing. Wouldn't of even knew he was playing. Maybe a game in the press box might help him get going.

The Eberle of yesteryear would have buried that big juicy rebound.Gripping the stick a bit tight right now.

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#162 steelymac
October 12 2013, 07:04PM
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So at what point does MacT fix our goaltending.

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#163 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:05PM
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steelymac wrote:

So at what point does MacT fix our goaltending.

Is last summer too soon?

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#164 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:12PM
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Ebs ears must have been burning.That is the type of slump breaking goal to get a player going.

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#165 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 07:13PM
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That a boy EBERLE

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#166 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:34PM
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Hughson - "Great save by Dubnyk. Kicked out his leg."

Also kicked the puck right in the slot.

Somewhere Louie D. is smiling.

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#167 I tried it at home
October 12 2013, 07:47PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Welcome aboard.After this game were going to need a bigger boat um wagon.

Looks like it'll be a submarine.

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#168 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 07:54PM
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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.

Book it indeed.

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#169 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 08:01PM
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WOW. We can't buy a win, brutal goaltending,brutal defense , glad to see Ebs get going, but I wonder are we a better team then last year(NO). Dallas Eakin's system to me is very confusing. Someone said earlier the swarming D system looks like a fire drill and I kinda agree everyone is everywhere. You look at other teams and they are calm and collected and then you look at the Oilers, it doesn't even look like there is a system in place. Maybe it's just me

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#170 steelymac
October 12 2013, 08:05PM
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DSF wrote:

I really need Willis to come by and tell me Dubnyk is an average NHL goaltender again.

.769

Good grief

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

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#171 Alsker
October 12 2013, 08:08PM
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Can you put a player on LTIR for being incapable of doing what he's paid to do?? It would free up lots of cap space.

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#172 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 08:10PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

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.

I gave MacT a pass. Cant change it all in 4 months.

Where are all those people who were pissed about the attempt to land Schneider?

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#173 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 08:15PM
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On a positive note...Gordon and Arcobello owned the dot.

How is Khubodin (sp) looking so far this year?

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#174 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:26PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

If Nashville holds on and wins tonight the oil are dead last in the west.

Groundhog day.

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#175 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:34PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

Oilers next coach Craig MacTavish

Slats version 2.0

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#176 Geoff
October 12 2013, 09:04PM
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Henrik Lundqvist is in the same boat Dubnyk is funnily enough lol. I think it put a lot into perspective concerning team defense.

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#177 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 09:12PM
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Spydyr wrote:

If it was my job to find a goalie at this point in the season I would look at teams with two good goalies.There are a few out there and try to trade for their second choice in net.A younger goalie with some possible upside.It would cost to much to get the elite goalie at this point in the season.For more then a year now I have been saying the team needs a good young goalie to push Dubnyk.When they brought in LaBarbera it was disappointing.

I get your point, but this team cannot take on another unproven commodity. It is time they went after an elite goalie.

This team will not improve until there is a goalie behind them that can give them the confidence that every little mistake is not going to end up in the back of their net.

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#178 NYR+EDM=TRADE
October 12 2013, 09:27PM
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Eakins isn't doing anything wrong as coach the guy wants to win and trying to motivate his team to get there. After tonight, it looks like its slowly coming but a few blunders on Defense cannot go un-seen. Dubnyk isn't the answer, you can't let 3 of those goals go in if you wantto be a #1 goalie in this league. Trade with either Buffalo or NYR would be a smart move on Edmontons part and also trying to get a solid Dman who can hit and block shots and doesn't wander to leave people open.

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#179 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 09:33PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Jose Theodore?

Maybe we could send one of the healthy scratches from the press box tonight, to Philly for Couturier, Rinaldo and Emery. Holmgren has to be getting anxious to do something now that he's sitting right next to the Oilers in the standings.

Might as well go for Millar! Trade and sign. Give them a 1st and Smid.

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#180 james_dean
October 12 2013, 09:33PM
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Sean17 wrote:

Suck it Willis.... don't bother posting another stats analysis of Dubynk. Google The Gambler's Fallacy philosophy.

You are a real greasy animal

I doubt you woudnt be scared of bear in woods

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#181 Clarko
October 12 2013, 09:37PM
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Czar wrote:

The Leafs had pressure so Doobie should have froze it to slow things down and get the guys you want out in the last minute of play. Leafs scored right after so I think it's pretty obvious Doobie made the wrong play.

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.

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#182 gord962
October 12 2013, 09:39PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Jose Theodore?

Maybe we could send one of the healthy scratches from the press box tonight, to Philly for Couturier, Rinaldo and Emery. Holmgren has to be getting anxious to do something now that he's sitting right next to the Oilers in the standings.

Theodore? I wouldn't sign him as a back up.

Emery isn't a number 1. He would be a solid back up and would solve this issue short term but doesn't solve anything next year or 35 games from now, for that matter.

This is still nothing Eakins can do - still not sure how Dallas is at fault?

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#183 Czar
October 12 2013, 09:51PM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

That is soooo funny.

Another Doobie?

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#184 DSF
October 12 2013, 09:57PM
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Czar wrote:

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

Sure I can.

The Oilers have been outplayed in 4 of 5 games.

And, it's just about to get harder.

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#185 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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#186 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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#187 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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#188 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 12 2013, 11:56AM
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@Garon

He's a reporter/sports personality, they have to do their best to remain impartial to give an unbiased view of whatever it is they're reporting.

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#189 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 12 2013, 12:02PM
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"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?"

Excellent point. Bernier and in fact the entire Leafs team is well over-due for a reversion to the mean.

Lets hope we can get them started on their quest for the bottom.

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#190 madjam
October 12 2013, 01:16PM
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Look at the rosters ! Bottom six no contest- Leafs far superior . Top six cancels one another out . Defence also no conteast-edge Leafs again . Better hope Leafs get caught underrating us , and maybe get lucky and steal this game .

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#191 DieHard
October 12 2013, 02:10PM
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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.

Sure wish you were the coach.

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#192 David S
October 12 2013, 03:07PM
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LoweBlow 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.

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#193 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:24PM
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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.

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#194 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:26PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

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

Can I get a good grief?

good grief

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#195 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:40PM
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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.

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#196 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:59PM
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Esks third and goal from the one to win the game and they fail.That is their season in a nutshell.

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#197 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:16PM
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I may be falling in love with Boyd Gordon.

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#198 YFC Prez
October 12 2013, 06:18PM
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15 to 8 face offs. Nice.

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#199 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:21PM
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Nice swarm.Could Lupul be anymore open?All five skaters on one half of the ice.Can we get another good grief?

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#200 Cold Hard Truth
October 12 2013, 06:28PM
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Accountability is good so long as Eakins is consistent.

I'm worried Eakins and mgmt has been singling Yakupov out because he's not an all-canadian, wonderbread player like the other wizz kids.

I want accoutability too; lets start with Lowe.

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