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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#51 chadster
October 12 2013, 07:54PM
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That had better have been Dubs last dam game ever in a uniform!!!!!

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#52 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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#53 Smokey
October 12 2013, 07:58PM
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chadster wrote:

That had better have been Dubs last dam game ever in a uniform!!!!!

I concur it was probably his worst as an Oilers, I'm not counting meaningless losses when the team in front of him really blew, but get bent. You know as well as I he's struggling, but even if we found a better goalie he's probably still with the team.

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#54 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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#55 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:25PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Makes sense. He is only over 60% in the dot, highest +/- on the team and has 5 pts in 5 games.

Oh....and he hits.

Makes perfect sense.

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

Mine are:

1)RNH

2)Gagner

3)Gordon

4)As the team stated today Acton.

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#56 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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#57 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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#58 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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#59 Sean17
October 12 2013, 08:35PM
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Suck it Willis.... don't bother posting another stats analysis of Dubynk. Google The Gambler's Fallacy philosophy.

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#60 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 09:21PM
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Soooooo, what Millar up to in a Buffalo?

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#61 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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#62 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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#63 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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#64 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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#65 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 01:09PM
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Regression to the mean may happen to Bernier tonight, but I've watched a fair bit of his tending so far this year and he has been outstanding. Supremely calm, fantastic rebound control - it the oil doesn't crowd the front of the net and shoot from the point he's likely going to make it look easy.

Outside of the blue paint the leafs are going to be very physical - something the oil hasn't faced this year - let's see how the oil weathers that and if it takes its toll in the third.

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#66 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 02:40PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

small sample size.

Let's revisit this at the end of the year.They should both equal out somewhat but IMO Bernier is and will be the better goalie moving forward.

In fact both Toronto goalies are better then the big easy.

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#67 Rama Lama
October 12 2013, 03:24PM
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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!

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#68 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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#69 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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#70 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:19PM
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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.

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#71 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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#72 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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#73 I tried it at home
October 12 2013, 07:52PM
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Sooooo.... how's about trying Boyd Gordon in goal? Also, anyone heard from Jeff Deslauriers lately?

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#74 Smokey
October 12 2013, 07:55PM
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I've supported Dubby for two years and still believe he's a good goalie, but obviously with this teams systemic problems we need a guy who can make the big save. He was brutal. He needed to make one big save all night.

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#75 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:57PM
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Just looked up sieve in the dictionary.This is what I saw. http://espn.go.com/nhl/player/_/id/3242/

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#76 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 08:03PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

26 shots.

6 goals.

BUT THE CORSI, BUT THE CORSI!

I picture marlin Brando in apocalypse now gasping "the corsi ... The corsi..."

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#77 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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#78 Knucky
October 12 2013, 08:20PM
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What is it going to take Mact? Your team will have to score 10 goals a game to have any chance to win. By the way Dubnyk sucks ,just in case you haven't noticed.

You and Lowe need to suit up and get done what you failed to all summer long.

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#79 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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#80 Slats
October 12 2013, 09:05PM
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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

Wasn't it icing so no line change?

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#81 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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#82 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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#83 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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#84 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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#85 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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#86 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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#87 otter2233
October 13 2013, 02:57AM
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@Alsker

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

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#88 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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#89 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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#90 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 01:15PM
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And Jason I don't understand how your dad could love dick duff and hate the leafs. Duff won two cups with the leafs and played some of his very best hockey for them. And later coached them.

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#91 DSF
October 12 2013, 02:36PM
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God 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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#92 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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#93 Johe
October 12 2013, 04:58PM
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Debbie downers.

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#94 Tile guy
October 12 2013, 05:06PM
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Perhaps there is something to this oilers might being stupid, yak attach sacked for tonight. Klowe, did you make that decision?

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

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#96 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:28PM
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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.

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#97 otter2233
October 12 2013, 05:49PM
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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.

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#98 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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#99 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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#100 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:25PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

If you look at the Refs real close you can just make out the tops of their one piece leaf onesies.

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

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