GDB 6.0: Desperation, this early?

Jonathan Willis
October 14 2013 10:34AM

Yes, it’s far too early in the season to be saying that any of these individual contests are must-win games. It isn’t too early to say the Oilers need to find a way to get some wins. Either fortunately or unfortunately, the situation is much the same in Washington, a team that with a 1-4-0 record is actually a point back of Edmonton.

The Lineup

Once again, Nail Yakupov finds himself on the outs, as per the Oilers’ official Twitter account.

I haven’t seen official word on the defence but assume it remains the same as well, giving the Oilers the following lines for tonight’s game:

  • 1st Line: Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Ales Hemsky
  • 2nd Line: Ryan Smyth – Mark Arcobello – Jordan Eberle
  • 3rd Line: David Perron – Boyd Gordon – Jesse Joensuu
  • 4th Line: Luke Gazdic – Will Acton – Mike Brown
  • 1st Pairing: Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • 2nd Pairing: Andrew Ference – Nick Schultz
  • 3rd Pairing: Anton Belov – Justin Schultz
  • Goal: Jason LaBarbera

After the game the third line had against Toronto, I had thought Jesse Joensuu might find his way out of the lineup (or better still, on to the fourth line with Mike Brown the scratch) but evidently the head coach feels either that Yakupov on the bench gives the Oilers the best chance to win or that the young player will benefit from another night off. Neither of those seem like particularly sound beliefs to me, but maybe there’s something else going on here.

Opportunity

There’s a great chance here for Jason LaBarbera to take the starting job and run with it. Career-wise, he’s had very good numbers in the backup role for a few seasons now, but was never going to get another opportunity at the starting job unless fortune intervened; with Devan Dubnyk’s struggles it has. Mathieu Garon’s career was in a very similar spot when he came to Edmonton; he ended up providing pretty good goaltending during the Oilers’ late run in 2007-08.

Another opportunity here is the one being afforded to Mark Arcobello. It’s difficult to see where he fits on the Oilers’ roster moving forward: the fourth line has been handed to big men, Arcobello’s skillset is replicated in the top-nine and Sam Gagner will take back his spot at some point. Arcobello has until Gagner gets back to make it impossible for the Oilers to send him down – or at the very least, to make it impossible that he clears waivers. So far, so good.

Finally, if MacTavish does make a big splash, I expect it to be on defence rather than in goal. With the possible exception of Jeff Petry, this has been a suspect group from day one and while all six guys are NHL players every night some of them seem to be in roles they aren’t able to handle.

Predictions!

Game day prediction: The Oilers lose a tight one in overtime, falling 2-1 to Washington.

Obvious game day prediction: The fourth line plays less than six minutes and gets out-shot and out-chanced badly thanks to one shift where they’re caught against Alexander Ovechkin.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Just like the game in Toronto, this is a back-and-forth affair, but it turns into a goaltending duel. Both teams have struggled between the pipes but the combined save percentage of both goalies on the night ends up in the 0.960 range.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#201 D
October 14 2013, 12:53PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
DoubleJ wrote:

I don't understand when I actually type these remarks I put them in paragraphs to space it out for easier reading. I hit enter it comes out in one big paragraph. Why?

It's sometimes a problem with the html tags on the site. To get around the issue, after you enter your comment, click "edit" and then manually insert paragraph tags in the places where you want to delineate between paragraphs.

Avatar
#202 MessyEH!
October 14 2013, 02:21PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I got this as a wedding gift.

It tasted great after the divorce.

Avatar
#203 bleedingoil
October 14 2013, 03:54PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Serious Gord wrote:

Trading yak would be an epic mistake. Moving hemsky and eberle makes sense depending on what the return is and begs the question:

why wasn't hemsky traded long ago? - it's not as if they only had this surplus materialize since the beginning of the year or even the beginning of last season.

I believe they were trying to trade Hemmer all summer. Nothing materialized until he could put in a string of healthy, productive games. We are seeing that now and his point production is on point. We have too many top 6 wingers now and do they extend Hemmer and trade Yak, get a deadline deal for Hemmer as a rental, or trade a Top line forward for immediate help? In any scenario, one of our 3 RW are moving on. Our best bet for immediate return of value would be to move Yak or put together a great package deal involving Hemsky

Avatar
#204 K_Mart
October 14 2013, 03:58PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

If they have a trade in place involving yak it had better involve either one of the 15 best d men under 30 or 10 best goalies under 30. I doubt either of those to be the case.

I'd be extremely surprised if MacT trades last year's leading scorer for the oilers. He's only played 4 games this year, MacT would be off his rocker if he reacted this early. 25 games in... Fine. But right now? No way.

Hemsky is 30, Yak is 20. Right now Hemsky is outplaying Yak and deserves the better minutes, but I'd be blown away if that trend continued passed the 25-30 game mark.

Yak is simply too talented to slump for more than 20 games. Remember, even players like Crosby have long droughts. Yak will still finish the season with 55+ pts.

Avatar
#205 Poolanov
October 14 2013, 04:50PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
washed up wrote:

Not seeing much love for the Oilers from sportsnet guys.

Dam iPhone. Triple post

Pardon?

Avatar
#206 MessyEH!
October 14 2013, 04:59PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Serious Gord wrote:

Once tambellini signed hemsky he became untradable. MacT found that out this summer. What MacT should have done is buy him out.

Hemsky is doing fine this year. Is he worth 5 million. No,but he'd be fine at 4. he may even fetch a second and a floundering former 1st rounder.

Avatar
#207 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 14 2013, 06:29PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
23
cheers

Sweet Jesus do we ever need a couple of goaltenders.

Avatar
#208 Cubsfan
October 14 2013, 06:32PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

awful!

Avatar
#209 washed up
October 14 2013, 06:51PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

I wish someone on the Oilers would one-time the puck. They stop the puck every time giving the goalie a chance to set up for the shot.

Avatar
#210 Harry
October 14 2013, 06:51PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

Can someone look up and tell me what the record is for the most games lost after scoring the first goal in a single season? Thank you in advance

Avatar
#211 Lofty
October 14 2013, 07:04PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
jl wrote:

I wouldn't call it unlucky so much.

Its more you guys suck . Keep in mind your biggest accomplishment is finishing last back to back years . Drafting first overall and telling everyone wait till next year . Next year is never coming .

Go nucks eat it oiler douche

Back to back to back sounds so much better. If only Columbus didn't rob us of that.

Avatar
#212 vetinari
October 14 2013, 07:09PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

When they come home from this road trip, could we put up some police tape around RX1 and hire someone to stand in front of the stadium on game days and tell fans,

"Move along everyone. Nothing to see here. Your 2013 draft guide is in the mail..."

Avatar
#213 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 14 2013, 07:14PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

How long before Oiler fans start wearing paper bags again?

Avatar
#214 Daryl
October 14 2013, 07:18PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Ha Ha Ha

Kevin L is must be heavy lugging around that brain of yours?

Avatar
#215 6 ring circus
October 14 2013, 07:19PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

Is this really happening? After 7 years I am tired of this SH-T already!!! This is Brutal.

Avatar
#216 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 14 2013, 07:29PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Huh. We scored.

Avatar
#217 Bloodsweatandoil
October 14 2013, 07:31PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Yay...we scored.......sigh

Avatar
#218 Gerry
October 14 2013, 07:35PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Is that Dubnyk in net? His pads look smaller

Avatar
#219 Cubsfan
October 14 2013, 07:37PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
Lofty wrote:

Start watching the Houston Texans. They used to be Oilers and now they only need a starting quarterback to be a contender. Much closer than the Edmonton variety.

Just like we expect Matt Schaub to throw a pick 6, we mow expect Dubnyk and/or LaBarbera to let in 2 easy goals to kill momentum

Avatar
#220 Ivan Drago
October 14 2013, 08:14PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

No he's not worth zero. You are incorrect. Giving up an asset for nothing is bad management. He can be signed and then traded for something of value. If you bought hemsky out this summer, who would you have spent the money on? How do you know if they would even sign here? How is that an on ice net positive?

Avatar
#221 Crusty Grit
October 14 2013, 08:41PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

@k

1990 was a great year. Ranford was awesome. I think that's over 20 years ago.

Avatar
#222 china town man
October 14 2013, 08:44PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Maybe next game we should pull the goalie After the first minute, have 6 players instead of 5, or find a goalie whose can stop the fricken puck!!! Time to panic Ahh..... yes calgary sucks and they are better than the oilers!!!!

Avatar
#223 Alsker
October 14 2013, 08:46PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
k wrote:

If we're being honest it's more like 20 years that we've been sh*tty. I'll give 2006 but we didn't get into the playoffs until the last day of the season.

True but with average goalies we would have has a spot wrapped up by xmas, not to mention anything prior to Sir 6RINGS taking charge doesn't matter, didnt you get his email regarding this.

Avatar
#224 Yaz
October 14 2013, 08:47PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Groan...will it ever end ? I remember something about the coach saying the Oil would be hard to play against this year. Hard to watch maybe, play against not so much.

Avatar
#225 Butters
October 14 2013, 08:50PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

If DD plays tomorrow, the Pittsburgh scouting report will "be to shoot high" on a 6'6" goaltender no less.

Avatar
#226 k
October 14 2013, 08:55PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
Alsker wrote:

True but with average goalies we would have has a spot wrapped up by xmas, not to mention anything prior to Sir 6RINGS taking charge doesn't matter, didnt you get his email regarding this.

I used to watch Lowe on a nightly basis and sadly he wasn't all that. Fans forget how mediocre, middle of the road he really was while playing.

Avatar
#227 Alsker
October 14 2013, 09:01PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
k wrote:

I used to watch Lowe on a nightly basis and sadly he wasn't all that. Fans forget how mediocre, middle of the road he really was while playing.

No actually we havent forgotten, it only adds to his whole 6Ring BS., as far as Oiler D-men go he is NOT close to the top of my list.

Avatar
#228 Alsker
October 14 2013, 09:02PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
Jeffff wrote:

I'm sure panic has set in, but don't worry Dubnyk maybe the only underrated player on the Oilers

And I thought Ive had too much rum!!!

Avatar
#229 Kevin
October 14 2013, 09:09PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers
6 ring circus wrote:

He has 6 cup ring's he says he knows how to build a champion.The problem is Katz believes him!!!

Here here to Klowe he truely is the brains behind toilet bowl teams. Bring on another lottery pick. We need some more skilled smurf forwards to truely round out the top 9.

Avatar
#230 madjam
October 14 2013, 09:12PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

Does plus minus have any relevance ? At -9 Hopkins in 4 games , Smyth@-5 for 5 , hall @6 -7, Hemsky-8 , J.Schultz-6 , Ference -5 , 4 @-3 . On the positive side Arcobello +4 , Eberle +1 same as 4th line . If nothing else , they point to us going in a negstive direction

Avatar
#231 Alsker
October 14 2013, 09:12PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
Serious Gord wrote:

Come over to the oiler fan dark side - take solace in yet another loss knowing that failure ultimately will force mr Katz' hand and he will fire Lowe and put in a president of hockey ops who is proven nhl quality and who owes nothing to anyone in the organization below him and he can rebuild this joke of a management team root and branch.

At least that's what a dark side oiler fan hopes will happen....

Sounds awesome except im pretty sure Lowe is Katz's sith lord in training and will never be replaced until such time that his abilities can be put to use ruining something far greater than a professional sports team...wait till Katz goes into politics..

Avatar
#232 Devolution
October 14 2013, 10:32PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
DSF wrote:

Don't really care what you feed.

I'll just keep feeding you the facts.

DSF

I agree that you put up the occasional thought provoking stat, and I have refrained from engaging with you for about three years now but I do have one legitimate question for you.

Why do you come here?

Avatar
#233 Fresh Mess
October 14 2013, 10:40PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

tried to tell you.

Avatar
#234 Devolution
October 14 2013, 10:49PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

Anyone else find it perplexing that RNH has been back 4 games, has tallied 3 points and is still -9?

Avatar
#235 Fresh Mess
October 14 2013, 10:53PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Devolution wrote:

DSF

I agree that you put up the occasional thought provoking stat, and I have refrained from engaging with you for about three years now but I do have one legitimate question for you.

Why do you come here?

Probably same reason I do. Was a die hard oiler fan for decades, before weening myself off the koolaid. I still like to follow several teams more in depth and come here hoping for some interesting news..

It is a bit hard to stomach some of the delusional fangirls though. Some people are fans of a team rather than of the sport, and are useless to have rational discussion with. There is still a lot of good stuff here from time to time.

Avatar
#236 Devolution
October 14 2013, 11:36PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Fresh Mess wrote:

Probably same reason I do. Was a die hard oiler fan for decades, before weening myself off the koolaid. I still like to follow several teams more in depth and come here hoping for some interesting news..

It is a bit hard to stomach some of the delusional fangirls though. Some people are fans of a team rather than of the sport, and are useless to have rational discussion with. There is still a lot of good stuff here from time to time.

The Oilers are a puzzle though. In 2009 it was obvious why they were bad, they had no good players. Then they had good players but an apparently bad coach. Now? They have pretty good players, Eakins, who I think it a good coach, and they are still bad.

Although, results aside, I do think they are better than they have been. Those horrific defensive lapses are fewer than before.

They should have won more than they have lost this year. Is it time to pull the pin on a goalie trade? I think probably not, but man, it is frustrating.

Avatar
#237 Sidney Frosby
October 14 2013, 11:40PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Freightening that the coach seems fit to play the 4th line against oveshkin's line....

I felt that Yaks would have a good game against his counterpart Ovi tonight ....had he played...benched for second game while J.shultz continues his horrific defensive play...

Starts the 3rd with the 4th line.... Continually plays Brown in place of Eager...Eager has at least scored 10 goals in an Nhl season...

Our PK is terrible as "skilled forwards are being used' and not penalty killers ( if we have any) ... It would be understandable if we needed to use Hall and Hemsky on the PK to keep them in the game or get some offence when we are down 4-1... But our first PK of the night looked like our first line....

The coach is trying a system that doesn't work unless you have Toews, Kopitar, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Richards..... We have one way scoters for the most part.. RNH, Gags, Hall, and Perron make sense on the PK.... Hemsky and Eberle don't

Poor coaching inToronto game, even more poor coaching in this game....

Avatar
#238 #YakCityGettingScrewedOverByCoach&Mgmty
October 14 2013, 11:42PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Cowbell_Feva wrote:

I haven't seen too many people fantasizing about Hall needing to be on Team Canada for the Winter Olympics. A good ol' dose of reality is starting to set in on those homers that had on the Oiler-goggles during the summer.

Bad Defense. Horrific Goaltending. Soft as butter forwards. Another coach....same sh*t team and people thought they would be a playoff contender. One, if not two of the wonderkids has to go this season to address the Defense/Goaltending fiasco. Time for change was 2 years ago....time for BOLD moves soon because this is becoming an absolute joke for an organization and there's nothing on the horizon to show that it will change.

Kevin Lowe, look in the mirror and step down. MacT get on the phone.

This is agonizing.

cosign

Avatar
#239 TT Boy
October 14 2013, 09:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

You can all bitch all you want about the goaltending.... And I agree, it stinks BUT we were all fed the Kool-Aid about having an amazing offense. Having a great offense doesn't mean that they outplay the opposition, it means they OUTSCORE the opposition!!

Avatar
#240 Vincheese
October 14 2013, 10:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Looks like Biron is also on waivers.

Could MacT try finding our number one goalie the same way he built the defence? A whole bunch of average goalies vying for the number one spot couldn't be worse.

Eventually, we will need to trade either one of Yak or Ebs for either a number 1 "D" or a real starter.

Dubnyk, wouldn't have the numbers he did is other teams didn't just shoot at will for the last few seasons. He is not the answer--I can't remember the last time he protected a lead in a close game.

I've been about as faithful to the oil as anyone--and I have my bag at the ready. Lowe needs to go!

Avatar
#241 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
October 14 2013, 10:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

As a 2nd tier fan I am wondering if the fans who count are seeing the team win? just wondering.

FIRE LOWE FIRE LOWE FIRE LOWE

Avatar
#242 Devolution
October 14 2013, 10:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
K_Mart wrote:

I think we're better than a 1-4-1 record. So that's what I'll say. You're right, now matter how good fans may say the team is playing, if we are out of the playoffs... well, we are out of the playoffs. That's all that matters.

But based on what I've seen, I believe this will be a .500, or very close to .500, hockey team by the end of 82 games, and right there in the playoff hunt.

Do you honestly believe our .839 sv% will continue? That is a stat that is simply too horrid to do anything other than get better.

Again, I realize this is a results oriented business and regardless of how things look, if the w's don't show up, the rest is a moot point.

But if this team continues to play as good as it has so far(even with all the mistakes) they will be at, or around, the playoff cut line.

Some of the breakdowns have been bad(Jultz jumps up in the play too early on the Laich play), but there's been far fewer than last year. The turnovers are still there, the mental breakdowns are still there, but they aren't happening as often(by my eye). Besides, all teams have breakdowns every game, not just us. So, it really sucks to have a 1-4-1 record, but it's still too early to panic.

From what I've seen, if our goalies had posted a .900 save% or better instead of a .839 sv% out of the gate for the first 6 games, everyone is singing a different tune.

It's an 82 game season, there will be slumps and winning streaks. They are always magnified in either direction at the beginning of the season, so naturally this slump looks that much worse.

I'll gladly eat crow if we aren't .500 by the 41 game mark.

We are 29th in GAA and 30th in sv%. After seeing Dubnyk play himself into the top 15 for starters in the league for 2 years, I can't see him being the 30th ranked goalie. Sure he could have a bad year, but that would mean finishing maybe 16-24th, not 30th. 30th would be a complete meltdown. Which is very unlikely.

I agree with everything except the goaltending situation. I think they have to do something. What that might be is clearly up in the air, AHL assignment, AHL call up, trade, whatever. But as has been pointed out many times in the past, it isn't just that they need to score more goals to win, but you can see how it deflates the team when they carry the play for 10 minutes and then a floated bounces twice and finds five hole.

Avatar
#243 Devolution
October 14 2013, 10:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Devolution

*Edit

and then a floater bounces twice and finds five hole

Avatar
#244 Mikey
October 14 2013, 11:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
K_Mart wrote:

I think we're better than a 1-4-1 record. So that's what I'll say. You're right, now matter how good fans may say the team is playing, if we are out of the playoffs... well, we are out of the playoffs. That's all that matters.

But based on what I've seen, I believe this will be a .500, or very close to .500, hockey team by the end of 82 games, and right there in the playoff hunt.

Do you honestly believe our .839 sv% will continue? That is a stat that is simply too horrid to do anything other than get better.

Again, I realize this is a results oriented business and regardless of how things look, if the w's don't show up, the rest is a moot point.

But if this team continues to play as good as it has so far(even with all the mistakes) they will be at, or around, the playoff cut line.

Some of the breakdowns have been bad(Jultz jumps up in the play too early on the Laich play), but there's been far fewer than last year. The turnovers are still there, the mental breakdowns are still there, but they aren't happening as often(by my eye). Besides, all teams have breakdowns every game, not just us. So, it really sucks to have a 1-4-1 record, but it's still too early to panic.

From what I've seen, if our goalies had posted a .900 save% or better instead of a .839 sv% out of the gate for the first 6 games, everyone is singing a different tune.

It's an 82 game season, there will be slumps and winning streaks. They are always magnified in either direction at the beginning of the season, so naturally this slump looks that much worse.

I'll gladly eat crow if we aren't .500 by the 41 game mark.

We are 29th in GAA and 30th in sv%. After seeing Dubnyk play himself into the top 15 for starters in the league for 2 years, I can't see him being the 30th ranked goalie. Sure he could have a bad year, but that would mean finishing maybe 16-24th, not 30th. 30th would be a complete meltdown. Which is very unlikely.

Interesting. Who are you? Tell Dubnyk to stop thinking, and just play. Hell tell him to go play a drop in game just to have some fun. It looks like he needs to have some fun. I hope he isn't being alienated by the team.

Avatar
#245 jbogus
October 15 2013, 12:46AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Long time listener (ok found site last year) and now on the way to being happily buzzed - what breaks my balls comes back to the salary cap, future benefit of value and the long term promise that evades us year on year on year.

My folks just visited me in aus and my favorite gift was Oiler board shorts and my dad asked me why do I care about the oilers -and sadly I just do. And will do.

Back to my balls, they're broken - we're smarter than philly, and slats in nry - I can't accept the dollars we spend for lack of results. Had google the cap for the sabres today to make me feel ok with results vs what monies being dished out.

Won't rant, as that's not my intent, rather just tired of the chasing the end if the rainbow so to speak.

Like many, no longer can sit without comment.

Jbogus

Avatar
#246 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 15 2013, 07:25AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@DSF

In other words, the Caps are averaging 37 SOG at home and I would think it's reasonable to wager they'll get close to 40 SOG tonight versus the Oilers.

missed on this one big time.

you should have known the oilers would outshoot the mighty caps, only to be let down by goaltending and huge defensive blunders once again.

it is step 4 of the Edmonton Oiler "always suck" handbook. Written by Kevin Lowe, illustrations by Jack Michaels

Avatar
#247 MMAX
October 16 2013, 06:01AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I think old Katz had better take a step back and really take a hard look at where his team is headed. He's a smart guy...right? This old boys club joke of a management team has gotten him nowhere. Katz, you're a had ass business man that has to make hard decisions, so why not start at the top with K-Lowe? Oh, wait...friends can't fire friends can they?

Comments are closed for this article.