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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#251 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:35PM
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Spydyr wrote:

F-ing Dubbie.

Staring goalie my butt.

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

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#252 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:36PM
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The did the wrong healthy scratch.Dubbie is to blame for 3X the goals Yak is this year.

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#253 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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#254 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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#256 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:41PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Either does Dubbie.

Good one, lol!!!

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#257 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:46PM
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The call was worse than the goal, BUT are we ever going to get that save that changes/keeps momentum!!!!!

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

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#259 otter2233
October 12 2013, 06:05PM
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Spydyr wrote:

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

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

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#260 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 06:07PM
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What happened in Vancouver dressing room????

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#261 YFC Prez
October 12 2013, 06:09PM
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@Oilcruzer

Grapes was talking about that reporter dude that published joe thortons locker room banter regarding herdl's 4 goals

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#262 Alsker
October 12 2013, 06:12PM
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otter2233 wrote:

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

How much of that does our .8something SP have to do it??

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#263 Clyde Frog
October 12 2013, 06:14PM
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GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooordon!

Yay!

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

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

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#266 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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#267 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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#268 Clyde Frog
October 12 2013, 06:21PM
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Proof how useless faceoffs are as an "offensive" stat?

Our best faceoff percentage in years gave us a terrible start.

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#269 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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#270 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:49PM
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Acton hauled ass to make the play with his stick. Hall acted by falling on his ass to get the high stick.

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#271 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:59PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

I don't no if it's just me but I haven't really noticed Eberle all season yet. I guess it's only 5 games in. Is that a little concerning or not. I don't know. But well the real JORDAN EBERLE please stand up.

Amen.

I sure hope he is not one of those guys that cash in with the big contract and lose the eye of the tiger.Ebs never struck me as that guy but like you mentioned it is early..

I'm hoping he is just having a tough go right now.

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#272 Tileguy
October 12 2013, 07:03PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

I don't no if it's just me but I haven't really noticed Eberle all season yet. I guess it's only 5 games in. Is that a little concerning or not. I don't know. But well the real JORDAN EBERLE please stand up.

Small sample

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

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#274 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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#275 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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#276 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 07:13PM
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That a boy EBERLE

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#277 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:20PM
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Hey Dubnyk there is a game going on around you wake the f up.

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#278 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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#279 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:23PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Okay apologists, explain to us why Dubnyk isn't pathetic again.

Get me Louie Debrusk, stat!

Willis will tell you in his next Dubnyk is a legit starter post.

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

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#281 Harry
October 12 2013, 07:24PM
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Devin Dubnyk sucks!!

Hall/Smyth seem to have a who-can-fall/turnover-the-puck-contest every game.

RNH is a beast!

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#282 steelymac
October 12 2013, 07:24PM
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The team gets the lead and Dubnyk lets them down.Gonzo

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#283 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:25PM
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Ebs again.The kid is on fire.Smythy going to the net like old times.Three goals in two games.Good on him.

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

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#285 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:35PM
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Btw...who is the Dude in between the "braintrust" in the pressbox they keep showing.

Maybe I should know, but I don't.

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#286 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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#287 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:37PM
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That is a save Dubnyk has to start making.Game saver.

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#288 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:37PM
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@Spydyr

Broke up the no hitter though :P

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#289 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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#290 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:43PM
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S H O C K E R

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

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#292 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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#293 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:48PM
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EP wrote:

Get Bryzgalov right now!!!

Not sure if he is the answer .He seems to wear his welcome out very quickly.

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

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

5-hole.

Stunning.

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#296 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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#297 madjam
October 12 2013, 08:02PM
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Oilers duplicate the Eskimos way of throwing away games . How often can they both find ways to lose . Maybe Capitals will be more gracious . Goalies on both teams played bad .

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#298 washed up
October 12 2013, 08:09PM
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Belov looked pretty good tonight. His best game so far. Thought Petry looked good too.

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#299 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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#300 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 08:22PM
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If Nashville holds on and wins tonight the oil are dead last in the west.

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