Devan Dubnyk: First Good Game of the Season

Jonathan Willis
October 17 2013 08:53PM

 

Another loss is going to be tough for Oilers fans to swallow, and some undoubtedly won't be in the mood to look for positives. There was at least one important item to note, though: Devan Dubnyk's solid play. In stopping 37 of 40 shots, not only did Dubnyk give the Oilers a chance to win but he showed he isn't about to go quietly into the night after struggling in the early season.

The Goals

Notice a pattern here? Like, say, a New York Islander left all alone at point blank range to put the puck wherever he wanted in the net?

Yes, Devan Dubnyk allowed three goals, but all of them were on the team playing "defence" in front of him. Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek and Terry Sawchuk all rolled into one would have struggled with those shots. Sometimes there's just nothing a goalie can do about that.

Is He Back?

The Dubnyk tonight - the guy who seemed unflappable as the Islanders peppered his net, the guy who didn't collapse after New York had scored - is exactly the guy the Oilers have needed all season. He skipped the first four games, but if he's back now it makes life a lot easier for the team, for fans, and for a general manager who reportedly has spent the last week racking up dollars on his long distance bill with calls around the league.

Though it might not make much difference if the Oilers persist in letting the leagues Okposos and Tavares (Tavareses?) have however much time they want in the slot.

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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.
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#1 DSF
October 17 2013, 08:59PM
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As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say..."if If it's not one thing, it's another".

If you get average goaltending in one game and the rest of the team gets outclassed by an average team, you still lose.

1) An above average goaltender

2) A big, tough second line centre

3 TWO top pairing defensemen.

Nothing else matters.

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#2 Spydyr
October 17 2013, 09:00PM
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Sure only one weak goal.He is getting better,

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#3 Ari Gold
October 17 2013, 09:01PM
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Thanks Dubnyk. Sadly, it didn't matter.

He doesn't have the ability to steal games, but not many goalies can do that anyway.

This team is 'used' to losing. The Edmonton Oilers need a serious paradigm shift, a change of culture. Changing a couple players and individuals in management doesn't create a winning culture. It doesn't suddenly turn around.

I'm worried that this team needs to sit and steep for a while, allowing MacT & Eakins to mature to their role. Of course there are cancers that need to be removed (K. Lowe, Steve Smith & anyone that can't backcheck) but unless a gamechanger comes in (Paul McLean, Ken Hitchcock), nothing is going to change in Oiler-ville.

I'm tired of losing. It's been 20 years of all the same.

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#4 RexLibris
October 17 2013, 09:03PM
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Tavares'?

Tavari?

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#5 Geoff
October 17 2013, 09:03PM
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Weirdly enough I don't mind the Oilers losing as much as last year. The hockey played is a lot better and I have more hairs still on my head because of it lol.

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#6 Spydyr
October 17 2013, 09:06PM
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DSF wrote:

As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say..."if If it's not one thing, it's another".

If you get average goaltending in one game and the rest of the team gets outclassed by an average team, you still lose.

1) An above average goaltender

2) A big, tough second line centre

3 TWO top pairing defensemen.

Nothing else matters.

Roseanne Roseannadanna Thanks DSF.Poor Gilda died much.much too soon.Still miss her humour.

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#7 Ari Gold
October 17 2013, 09:07PM
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DSF wrote:

As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say..."if If it's not one thing, it's another".

If you get average goaltending in one game and the rest of the team gets outclassed by an average team, you still lose.

1) An above average goaltender

2) A big, tough second line centre

3 TWO top pairing defensemen.

Nothing else matters.

I'd agree that those 3 things would address the obvious problems. Unfortunately I think that even with these pieces of the puzzle, there's an intangible factor that will forever doom this organization. They look like they're used to losing. In fact, I'd argue that Yak is one of the only guys that looks visibly passionate at all.

Maybe I'm just tired and irritated, but these missing pieces honestly don't seems like they'd be enough. Even if the Oil added:

Lundqvist, Weber, Doughty & Mike Richards. It wouldn't matter with the cancerous attitude of this organization.

Enough of this garbage Cool-Aid, where's the scotch?

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#8 DSF
October 17 2013, 09:09PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Roseanne Roseannadanna Thanks DSF.Poor Gilda died much.much too soon.Still miss her humour.

Loved that woman.

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#9 FireKLowe
October 17 2013, 09:10PM
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JW,

What are your thoughts on the following?

1. The coach's swarm system. 2. The coach having to retain the previous assistants (namely Smith and Buchy). Why wasn't Eakins allowed to bring in his own assts? 3. Is there any chance KLowe eventually pays for this debacle if things don't turn around?

Thanks.

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#10 DSF
October 17 2013, 09:11PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

Thanks Dubnyk. Sadly, it didn't matter.

He doesn't have the ability to steal games, but not many goalies can do that anyway.

This team is 'used' to losing. The Edmonton Oilers need a serious paradigm shift, a change of culture. Changing a couple players and individuals in management doesn't create a winning culture. It doesn't suddenly turn around.

I'm worried that this team needs to sit and steep for a while, allowing MacT & Eakins to mature to their role. Of course there are cancers that need to be removed (K. Lowe, Steve Smith & anyone that can't backcheck) but unless a gamechanger comes in (Paul McLean, Ken Hitchcock), nothing is going to change in Oiler-ville.

I'm tired of losing. It's been 20 years of all the same.

Buffalo, Philly and Edmonton need an organizational flush.

From the top down.

It'll be interesting to see which owner has the biggest balls.

I'd bet on Snider.

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#11 Spydyr
October 17 2013, 09:14PM
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DSF wrote:

Buffalo, Philly and Edmonton need an organizational flush.

From the top down.

It'll be interesting to see which owner has the biggest balls.

I'd bet on Snider.

Things started to go wrong in Edmonton when Katz outbid Gregg for the team.What ever happened to the 150 million dollar rinks at the U of A anyhow?

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#12 gr8one
October 17 2013, 09:17PM
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The heat keeps getting turned up on management, somethings gotta give soon you'd think.

I just hope it's not something stupid.

Dubnyk seems to have lost the confidence of the team, they just seem to have no confidence playing in front of him...that's not to excuse their defensive lapses but I think there's validity to it.

I still say there's no way that goal by JT should have gone in, a 6'5 goalie should never let a shot go over his shoulder like that when the shooter is in that close...he went down way too early. Don't get me wrong, JT should never have that kind of time/space, but to me that goal just took the sails out of the whole team,

This game was a huge improvement for Dubie, that's a start, but still not good enough, he needs to put a string of great saves together and steal a game or two, short of that, I don't see him gaining the confidence back of the team.

We unfortunately don't have the luxury of waiting for that any longer, the bleak playoff picture before this start is already beginning to look impossible at this rate.

By gawd MacT...just don't do something stupid!

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#13 FireKLowe
October 17 2013, 09:20PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Things started to go wrong in Edmonton when Katz outbid Gregg for the team.What ever happened to the 150 million dollar rinks at the U of A anyhow?

The rushed and ridiculous Pronger trade by KLowe is when things started going downhill. Had the idiot GM waited for a better deal that involved bonafide players coming back, the Oilers would've faired a heck of a lot better.

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#14 Droozy
October 17 2013, 09:25PM
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@FireKLowe

Many around the league thought Kruger was fired because he wanted to get rid of Bucky and Smith. Eakins offered a opportunity to keep them around, although how you keep the same two failing assistants while firing the head coach each year is beyond me.

Time for Bucky and Smith to go.

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#15 Spydyr
October 17 2013, 09:25PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

The rushed and ridiculous Pronger trade by KLowe is when things started going downhill. Had the idiot GM waited for a better deal that involved bonafide players coming back, the Oilers would've faired a heck of a lot better.

I would have sat the rake till the trade deadline.

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#16 Randaman
October 17 2013, 09:28PM
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Well Kevin, what do you have to say now? Smith can't coach the defence. That is obvious. Bucky was a fourth line plug. How is he going to coach positional play, etc.? Maybe you should have let Eakins bring his own group instead of supporting your buddies eh? It may cost you your job (hoping and praying). Start at the top Katz and fix this mess... Positives?? Ok, Hall was awesome and Arcabello needs to stay even when Gagner returns. Send Acton down instead. P.S. Trade Smid. He is absolutely horrible and Petry isn't much better.

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#17 Spydyr
October 17 2013, 09:30PM
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Randaman wrote:

Well Kevin, what do you have to say now? Smith can't coach the defence. That is obvious. Bucky was a fourth line plug. How is he going to coach positional play, etc.? Maybe you should have let Eakins bring his own group instead of supporting your buddies eh? It may cost you your job (hoping and praying). Start at the top Katz and fix this mess... Positives?? Ok, Hall was awesome and Arcabello needs to stay even when Gagner returns. Send Acton down instead. P.S. Trade Smid. He is absolutely horrible and Petry isn't much better.

Have no fear Messier is coming.

Facepalm.

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#18 Smokey
October 17 2013, 09:39PM
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Was pretty down tonight. The goaltending was reasonable tonight. No one can fault Dubby on two of the goals, but its hard to see guys left wide open in the slot all the time. I know so little about this system, but it seems this defensive breakdowns leave guys wide open. You wonder if a new coach with a new obscure system is the death of this team this year.

I think going from one difficult system to another with a group of already weak defenders was something MacT was not astute enough to see. I know they will ride it out, but they will have to get on a roll to salvage what's left of this first part of trip.

I think heads should role, get rid of the chaff. Lowe and companies 3 good years in 13 in ridiculous.

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#19 Smokey
October 17 2013, 09:42PM
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Roy and Hasek, would of got us a win.

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#20 Clarko
October 17 2013, 09:47PM
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gr8one wrote:

The heat keeps getting turned up on management, somethings gotta give soon you'd think.

I just hope it's not something stupid.

Dubnyk seems to have lost the confidence of the team, they just seem to have no confidence playing in front of him...that's not to excuse their defensive lapses but I think there's validity to it.

I still say there's no way that goal by JT should have gone in, a 6'5 goalie should never let a shot go over his shoulder like that when the shooter is in that close...he went down way too early. Don't get me wrong, JT should never have that kind of time/space, but to me that goal just took the sails out of the whole team,

This game was a huge improvement for Dubie, that's a start, but still not good enough, he needs to put a string of great saves together and steal a game or two, short of that, I don't see him gaining the confidence back of the team.

We unfortunately don't have the luxury of waiting for that any longer, the bleak playoff picture before this start is already beginning to look impossible at this rate.

By gawd MacT...just don't do something stupid!

If you think that Dubnyk should never let Tavares, who is one of the best players in the game, score from the slot with all the time in the world on a shot off the crossbar and in, then he can never do enough to satisfy you.

Dubnyk is the last player we should blame for this loss. The team was outshot 40-29, the defensive zone coverage was gross, and the Oilers had 1 shot on goal halfway through the 3rd period when they were down by a goal.

Dubnyk has not been good this season, but this was a well-played game by him.

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#21 Kodiak
October 17 2013, 09:56PM
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Dear Dallas,

4th line out against Tavares isn't a great idea there, bud. And maybe look at some of last years film regarding PP and PK as we were actually pretty good in that department. And just so you know, the best place to score from is the slot, so lets try and play a system that covers that area of the ice a bit next time out, too, ok?!?

Sincerely, Every Freakin Oiler fan

PS - Belov was playing pretty good, what did he do to deserve being paired up with JSchultz?

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#22 Newj
October 17 2013, 09:59PM
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Smokey wrote:

Roy and Hasek, would of got us a win.

If sir Patrick were on this team..he would do the same thing he did with Mario et al...give up and ask for a trade.

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#23 Butters
October 17 2013, 10:17PM
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I read in the standings the Oilers have a 1 6 1 W L OT record. What does the "W" stand for again? I forget.

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#24 MapleLeafer
October 17 2013, 10:22PM
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Honestly guys I'm not here to troll but if you guys were to trade Hall, Hopkins, Yakupov, Gagner, Schultz, Eberle, Hemsky; the bounty would be huuge. A team FULL of real NHL calibre players would be easily attainable. I know you guys have been in love with the prospect of being a dynasty again so I'm probably gonna get a ton of trashes but trade some of the "untouchables" and shake things up a bit god dammit! Usually I come here to raz a few people then be on my way, but for the past few games Oiler fans are doing a pretty good job of it, and I'm a little saddened by it.

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#25 Kypreos
October 17 2013, 10:22PM
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The problem is not completely Doobie. The defense is terrible J Schultz is good offensively but a liability defensively, brutal. Forwards are more focused on padding their own stats as a posed to playing as a team. Losing will continue until a major shake up. Yakapov, RNH, Hall should all be on the block!

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#26 Oiler Al
October 17 2013, 10:24PM
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Shots on goal from your fancy/dancy stick handlers: Eberle- 0 Hemsky-0 Perron-0 Nuge-1.

Compared to Hall- 6 SMyth- 5 J.Schultz-3 and Yak - 3 Arcabello - 4.

Shoot more often and hit more often, you might win a game. Belov and Smid - 0, hits in this game. What kind of D men are these guys. Very soft team.

Whats the point of the current 4 th line?I know they didn't get much ice time.. Gadzic-0 hits, Cluttebuck 5. Tells you something about the make up of this team

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#27 Lochenzo
October 17 2013, 10:25PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

The rushed and ridiculous Pronger trade by KLowe is when things started going downhill. Had the idiot GM waited for a better deal that involved bonafide players coming back, the Oilers would've faired a heck of a lot better.

I disagree. You rarely win a trade when you trade a superstar like Pronger. But the Oilers received great assets in return. Lupul, Smid, Eberle, and Riley Nash who became Martin Marincin. Lupul is one heckuva player. Unfortunately in his younger years, he was more of a partier than a hockey player.

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#28 outdoorzguy
October 17 2013, 10:30PM
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The title of this article says it all. We accept mediocrity. Dubnyk played well but the rest of the team sucked, we lost but all is right because Dubnyk played well. Lets get off this wagon that looks at individual performances. If Dubnyk had played great, instead of just good, he might have won the game for the Oilers. Dubnyk will not steal a win for us like a quality NHL goalie will. Result - we lose, again and again. Acknowledging individual performances or records needs to be pushed aside until as a whole, as a team, the Oilers start to win. Every night we get excited because someone did something good, but overall the team played bad and we lose. Lets start looking at this as a team game. Bad team play equals loss. Good team play may result in a win or an acceptable effort. Individual performances are what we base our love of this hockey team on, not team performance. Lets quit looking at excuses and hiding a bad team behind single performances. Wins are what count, not good games by one player..but that's what most have come to accept as success. And unless our mindset changes this team will carry on in mediocrity because that is what we as fans are okay with and the organization has accepted as success. Time to take action. Stop going to games, burn jerseys, voice displeasure, boycott Rexall pharmacies. Unless Katz feels this in his wallet, nothing will change. Mediocrity is perceived as success as long as the dollars flow in.

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#29 Slats
October 17 2013, 10:30PM
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Good on Dubie that effort for the last 4 games would have got us 3-4 points. Let's hope the exorcism will hold.

Yaks - please watch these replays 1000 times between now and Saturday. NHL is a give and go league. (Shoot hard on return pass!!)

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#30 quinn the eskimo
October 17 2013, 10:32PM
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This was a winnable game. The road is starting to wear on the lads; they had less sparkle than they did against the Leafs, Caps and Pens, Hall notwithstanding. The Isles play a baffling trappy game but still get off all those shots, (some of them very good ones) and it looks like they are coming around after years in the freezer. Did RNH dress tonight? Didn't see him, but if Hemmer and Smytty score on those yawning cages, we win. Not as much fun to watch tonight, but not crap. And that hooking penalty at the end was bollocks. Didn't like Arco at first, now I'm intrigued and would like him to get at least one goal before they send him down. Get well Gags, but not for a couple of games yet.

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#31 kgo
October 17 2013, 10:32PM
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looked like the centres were at fault on all 3....

.1. arco on the first, he saw belov bobble the puck (love belov so far) and he slid down to help leaving his man open and bam!

2. arco again on the PP, was covering a non existant passing lane, instead of attacking the carrier

3. Gordon looked exhausted and lost his man from the boards.

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#32 Devolution
October 17 2013, 10:34PM
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Smokey wrote:

Roy and Hasek, would of got us a win.

Maybe both in the net at the same time.

This one isn't on Dubnyk. He made the saves he was supposed to and then some.

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#33 Butters
October 17 2013, 10:34PM
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@MapleLeafer The Oilers are trying to build through the draft. Part of the reason is there are a lot of players who do not want to come here. We are on Ryan Miller's list of teams he won't go to for example. Although he plays on an equally crappy team, in a comparable city which gets Lake-effect snow in the winter, but whatevs.

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#34 Quicksilver ballet
October 17 2013, 10:39PM
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Lost in all this nonsense is what a huge benefit it was having Horcoff, Hemsky and Gagner show these kids what it takes to be Oilers. Their leadership skills being on parade these last 3 seasons. Without these role models, i'd hate to think where this team would be today.

Government cheese.....all of them.

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#35 Devolution
October 17 2013, 10:42PM
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Butters wrote:

@MapleLeafer The Oilers are trying to build through the draft. Part of the reason is there are a lot of players who do not want to come here. We are on Ryan Miller's list of teams he won't go to for example. Although he plays on an equally crappy team, in a comparable city which gets Lake-effect snow in the winter, but whatevs.

Buffalo is also a bus ride or one hour flight from 80% of their opponents.

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#36 Butters
October 17 2013, 10:44PM
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Maybe Justin Schultz is actually a forward trapped in a defenceman's body?

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#37 Butters
October 17 2013, 10:46PM
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@Devolution Good point. Forgot about those "gruelling" east coast road trips.

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#38 Devolution
October 17 2013, 10:47PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Lost in all this nonsense is what a huge benefit it was having Horcoff, Hemsky and Gagner show these kids what it takes to be Oilers. Their leadership skills being on parade these last 3 seasons. Without these role models, i'd hate to think where this team would be today.

Government cheese.....all of them.

There is clearly something else wrong, something organizational. In pure talent the Oilers are pretty good. With all that scoring power they managed 8 seconds of real offence tonight.

PK going from good last year to awful this year, PP too. Faceoff this year much better, but tonight it didn't seem like they could win anything.

I, along with most fans and Oiler management, just don't get it.

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#39 Devolution
October 17 2013, 10:49PM
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Butters wrote:

@Devolution Good point. Forgot about those "gruelling" east coast road trips.

A couple of seasons ago New Jersey played in Edmonton in mid November. It was their last game out of the eastern time zone for the entire season! The entire season!

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#40 quinn the eskimo
October 17 2013, 10:50PM
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@Butters

Another good reason not to even send a bag of KFC in trade for him. Hockey players who like 'comfortable' make me sick. It tells you what you need to know about them.

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#41 2004Z06
October 17 2013, 10:58PM
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Ahhhh wouldn't it be nice if everyone showed up on the same night for a change?

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#42 dobiezeke
October 17 2013, 10:58PM
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McTavish/Quinn/Renney/Krueger/Eakins...5 coaches with 5 different systems/philosophies. None have worked with this group. New players get inserted through the years yet the team still finds a way to crap the bed nightly. There is no attempt to play 60 minutes of hockey on a nightly basis.

There is no accountability from those that have been through the past coaches and no desire to play the game like they give a shat.

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#43 mlcslli
October 17 2013, 11:44PM
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Now Messier is on his way. When someone decides to take roll call, just about all the" boys on the bus" are present and accounted for. If Klowe is so determined to keep a nice little reunion for himself, I'm afraid he's letting this team slip through the cracks all the way to the bottom again. It seems to me that his priority is to keep all the old guys together and not too concerned with working on solutions. This team could be great and have an awesome future if we only had a different president of operations. How sad it is for the players and the fans.

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#44 TeddyTurnbuckle
October 18 2013, 12:06AM
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Best game so far by the Oilers. Out shot tonight but had the territorial advantage. Good game dubbie.

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#45 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 18 2013, 12:09AM
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One would hope Messier gives the Lord of the Rings a smack in the head and asks how the hell he let this organization get so bush league.

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#46 Racki
October 18 2013, 12:18AM
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I know there are some needs to address on this team such as goaltending (a 1B guy, in my opinion, a #1D would also be very nice)... but I have been wondering lately about this whole swarm system. I know there are teams out there that do this very well, but I'm having a tough time believing that the Oilers are going to grasp this concept before the whole season slips away. I'm fully expecting one day that the coaches will just completely dumb it down and go back to the zone defense that everyone learns as kids (and some teams implement).

The swarm is effective when done right, but it's also conducive to that back door play or leaving a guy wide open somewhere on the ice. The Oilers have that part of this tactic down pat.

Krueger tried to teach this team man-to-man defense.. lots of confusion for this team with that too. Just water it down completely and see how they do for a while maybe.... if the swarm doesn't click in before long.

To add to this, the Oilers are much improved on faceoffs... get back to powerplay and PK systems that have worked in the past, couple that with skilled guys who have improved in their offensive ability, reliable systems, and maybe this team starts winning. I like Eakins though, just saying that maybe he needs to dumb it down if this all doesn't work soon.

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#47 Terran
October 18 2013, 12:25AM
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"the leagues Okposos and Tavares (Tavareses?)"

I think the correct term is "Tavarii", Jonathan

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#48 Pouzar99
October 18 2013, 12:25AM
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Dubnyk was excellent but the boys always find a way too lose. He stopped everything that was stoppable and you can't ask for more than that. If the Oilers continue to give up chances like this and continue not to capitalize enough on their own, this may never end. One way or another, this darkness got to end.

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#49 grammar police
October 18 2013, 12:32AM
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Kypreos wrote:

The problem is not completely Doobie. The defense is terrible J Schultz is good offensively but a liability defensively, brutal. Forwards are more focused on padding their own stats as a posed to playing as a team. Losing will continue until a major shake up. Yakapov, RNH, Hall should all be on the block!

as opposed

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#50 Cynic
October 18 2013, 12:46AM
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What's the suicide count tonight? I took "8" in the office pool.

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