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, 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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#51 spliff
October 18 2013, 12:48AM
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I appreciate your positive attitude Jonathan, and kudos for finding something to be happy about regarding the Oilers. However, I’m starting to lose interest completely. I’ve been a fan since 1976, when I was 8 years old and the Oilers had players like Rusty Patnaude and Smoky McCleod. I’ve been a huge fan ever since, and have stayed with them during the low times (which has been most of the time). However, I don’t think the ownership is doing its best to make sure the team is competitive. I have a very low tolerance for cronyism, and I believe that is what is at the root of the Oilers downfall since KLowe took over. Katz had a chance last summer to hire real professional managers, and get rid of the dead wood. I like MacTavish, but he is inexperienced and this team needed a proven winner with experience. The Flames are going to pass again, if they haven’t already. I can’t take this anymore. I’ve been getting my balls busted at work for years now by hockey fans I work with who cheer for teams that actually make the playoffs once in awhile. I have no response to them anymore. I still check the scores, but don’t really care that much when they lose. The Oilers owner should be worried if people like me (lifelong passionate fans) are losing interest. But that’s the problem, I don’t think the owners gives a sh*t about the fans

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#52 A Dude
October 18 2013, 01:20AM
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So many rants, and I don't blame the fans.

What baffles me is the continued fan base. The Oilers at its present state will not survive if it was an organization based in the U.S.

I have rid of myself with the emotional investment. For as long as there is no accountability in the organization, we will never be a Stanley Cup contender.

Best way to show it is just watch from TV but not buy tickets anymore for home games. Empty seats speak louder than blogs.

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#53 Spoils
October 18 2013, 01:28AM
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Thank goodness nobody is talking about Ryan Miller.

Anybody want a pipe dream to help them rest?

Gags comes back and we go on a big long win streak, like 10 games, and don't look back.

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#54 **
October 18 2013, 02:30AM
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I was watching today's game and I was just expecting a bad bounce or something stupid to happen to have the Oilers lose the game. But Dubnyk kept them in it the whole game. Kudos to him, he wasn't stellar but he was solid. Reality is though, this is more of the same "we lost but we played some good things" cynicism that's been going on since 2009. I'm a fan, but this is terrible hockey and putrid results.

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#55 **
October 18 2013, 02:37AM
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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.

I would fire everyone who directly has any say on the Oilers operations , from the assistant coaches Smith and Buchberger, to Kevin Lowe, to Laforge, Bob Stauffer, marketing, pro scouts, amateur scouts. Do a real cleanse.Otherwise it's the same voices regurgitating the same message over and over and over again ( and yes that was meant to sound extremely redundant).

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#56 JJ
October 18 2013, 04:24AM
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If you want change, please stop going to the games. They've had long enough. Why would a business have any desire to change it's practices if they're still making just as much money? That's what this league is, business. This is why this kind of incompetence would never last as long as it has in the states. Because their fans aren't passionate enough to continue to go to the gong shows.

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#57 Loweblows
October 18 2013, 05:19AM
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Pathetic.......nothing else to say

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#58 Loweblows
October 18 2013, 05:41AM
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Boooooooopooooooooooooooooooooo

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#59 Monkeyswan
October 18 2013, 05:46AM
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From Vancouver, led zeppelin , I fell like a " Fool in the rain" for thinking this season was going to be different, still searching for my street corner girl who always has value and pretends to care

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#60 pelhem grenville
October 18 2013, 06:17AM
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RexLibris wrote:

Tavares'?

Tavari?

...Tavareseseseseseseseses

DSF would say good grief

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#61 Ray
October 18 2013, 06:20AM
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I'm convinced Katz got his head start from daddy because obviously he has no idea when it comes time to surround himself with quality people instead of old kid idols(Kevin lowe et al).....so he use to chat and visit with the old oilers....who cares!....it's time to make a man decision son.....use your own head.....what has k. Lowe ever done?(he lucked out on Chris pronger!!!!)....before it's too late!!!

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#62 Citizen David
October 18 2013, 06:25AM
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It's official. Oilers fans are as bad as Vancouver fans... Or worse. Season's early boys and girls. Anything can happen. Go Oilers!

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#63 oilers2k10
October 18 2013, 06:36AM
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I don't know why but I cannot stand it whenever someone says "the okbosos, crosbys, ovechkins of the league" there is only ONE Okboso, One Crosby, ONE Ovechkin..I know it's being referred to players in that category but it just sounds dumb to me. Dumber may be me pointing it out, but so be it..I've had it! Sick with it! Quit it!

Oilers will come back and win 72% of their games and sneak into the playoffs with around 94 points.

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#64 Fresh Mess
October 18 2013, 06:47AM
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It doesn't matter if you quit going to the games. Katz will just get your tax dollars. And all the assorted media who directly or indirectly make their living talking about the Oilers, along with the 'world class' lunkheads will be there to cheerlead his demand.

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#65 Ari Gold
October 18 2013, 07:02AM
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1-6-1 How is this possibly acceptable in any way? Where's the accountability?

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#66 Bjm
October 18 2013, 07:13AM
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".....I didn't know the renovation would be this messy", says Eakins . In other words , not my fault. Kind of like Pat Quinn saying , " they told me these young men have skill".

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#67 madjam
October 18 2013, 07:16AM
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How much longer do we wait for our young core to develop before they contemplate trading some ? The teams progressing , but they are not . They are costing us most games if you consider plus minus stats . Only Eberle @ plus 2 is a positive . Amazingly Arcobello @ plus 4 . Hopkins -9 as an example . The rest of fab 5 beyond Eberle equally bad . Is it the system , coaching ,or the players failure to improve ? We re not going to win much if they are the culprits with glaring bad plus minus figures far exceeding rest of club . We have a problem and it appears to be the kids .

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#68 Oiler Al
October 18 2013, 07:19AM
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Racki wrote:

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.

Racki, not doubting you, but curious who are all those teams that run the SWARM successfully.?

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#69 Bjm
October 18 2013, 07:20AM
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Common denominators over the past several years: 6 Rings, Bucky, Smith, and I believe, the same pro scouts. Thanks .

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#70 madjam
October 18 2013, 07:46AM
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Hopkins - 9 ,Hemsky -8 , J.Schultz , -7 , Hall-6 , Ference and Smyth -5 , Yak and Gordon -4 . That's our core basically , and the problems stem mainly from them . Looks can be deceiving obviously .

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#71 Ari Gold
October 18 2013, 07:52AM
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The commonality of the past 20 years. The stagnation of progress from the 'old boys club' and the creation of a culture of losing.

It's ok to lose in Edmonton. Let's face it.

Katz needs to clean house except for MacT & Eakins. They can hardly be faulted for this.

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#72 -30-
October 18 2013, 07:52AM
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The most myopic people on the planet? Oilers fans.

I've suffered as long as anyone with the ineptitude in management but how about some perspective?

How many games are we into the season? The team is AGAIN learning a whole new system. If things are still this bad before Christmas I'll be concerned.

Almost every team has a losing streak during the season. Thank goodness ours is early.

So much for reason and common sense on here.

-30-

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#73 Bruins
October 18 2013, 08:08AM
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I do not understand how kevin lowe keeps his job????

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#74 2004Z06
October 18 2013, 08:23AM
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A Dude wrote:

So many rants, and I don't blame the fans.

What baffles me is the continued fan base. The Oilers at its present state will not survive if it was an organization based in the U.S.

I have rid of myself with the emotional investment. For as long as there is no accountability in the organization, we will never be a Stanley Cup contender.

Best way to show it is just watch from TV but not buy tickets anymore for home games. Empty seats speak louder than blogs.

I have made the same argument. The problem in Edmonton is the fans care too much. Fans are afraid to give up there tix because they know some other sucker is on the waiting list to purchase them and they will never get them back.

This needs to be a simpler message. Boycott 1 game, just one. I guarantee the message will be sent.

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#75 2004Z06
October 18 2013, 08:32AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Racki, not doubting you, but curious who are all those teams that run the SWARM successfully.?

Really? You think the swarm is the problem? How about the fact that only half the team shows up to play on any given night. The "systems" being implemented are not the problem, the attitude and lack of compete in a lot of these players is! The swarm wasn't here last year...same result, the year before....same result and on and on. The coach and the system are clearly not the problem because after 4 coaches and 4 systems, nothing has changed!

Everyone is looking for an excuse with this team. They simply do not work hard enough to compete nightly in this league.

NO EXCUSES

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#76 outdoorzguy
October 18 2013, 08:32AM
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@Bruins

His wife and Katz's wife are bff's

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#77 2004Z06
October 18 2013, 08:34AM
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Bjm wrote:

Common denominators over the past several years: 6 Rings, Bucky, Smith, and I believe, the same pro scouts. Thanks .

And a lot of the same players!

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#78 Loweblows
October 18 2013, 08:36AM
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I agree with Willis that all 3 goals that got by DD were the result of defensive breakdowns. I agree that even the best goaltenders would have a hard time with any of those goals last night. But if say Roy faced the same 3 he would at least save one, hence the term "big save". I saw standard positional saves by DD last night but he didnt make the big save and that is the difference between winning and losing. Im sick of hearing about "improvements". Until they win park the tired cliches, close the dressing room door and figure out how to win. As for KLowe, how the he#€ he still has a job is beyond comprehension. Could you imagine any other business where the Manager ran 7 consecutive years in the red and still manages to keep their job?

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#79 Rdubb
October 18 2013, 08:38AM
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I think people need to get off of Devons back, he has played good goal for this team for a few years now, and he should bounce back, and last night is hopefully just the start... BUT, I have a few questions; what in the hell has the coach done to our special team play? The past two season we were in the top half of the NHL in PK and PP, & where are we this season? @ the freakin bottom!!! Eakins and his "experiments" is costing Edmonton a ton. I watched the PK last night closely, and the forward duo of Hemsky and Acton was ridiculous, it seemed as if Hemsky wouldn't go to the point man with the puck and Acton would, but he'd go from one side of the ice to the other, thus leaving the opposite point man open, an easy pass across and tons of room, poor, very poor defensive structure. And if I noticed and Eakins didn't, he shouldn't be an NHL coach, and since he is, he saw this too, and continued to put these two out on the PK, and they continued to do the same thing...no wonder our PK is worst... Eakins NEEDS to get our PP & PK back to where it was successful & work on the things which weren't the past few seasons... And finally, enough about this corsi crap, I am sick and tired of hearing about how good Edmontons corsi is and we continue losing...just win baby

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#80 Eddie Shore
October 18 2013, 08:46AM
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Loweblows wrote:

I agree with Willis that all 3 goals that got by DD were the result of defensive breakdowns. I agree that even the best goaltenders would have a hard time with any of those goals last night. But if say Roy faced the same 3 he would at least save one, hence the term "big save". I saw standard positional saves by DD last night but he didnt make the big save and that is the difference between winning and losing. Im sick of hearing about "improvements". Until they win park the tired cliches, close the dressing room door and figure out how to win. As for KLowe, how the he#€ he still has a job is beyond comprehension. Could you imagine any other business where the Manager ran 7 consecutive years in the red and still manages to keep their job?

Oilers were outshot what 15-5 in the 3rd period? I'd say Dubnyk did a hell of a job keeping them in it. He made plenty of "big saves" and gave them a chance to win the game.

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#81 Smokey
October 18 2013, 08:55AM
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dobiezeke wrote:

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.

I find your comment strange. First of all the players besides Hemsky are a completely different group.

Anyways your right its the same garbage. I see the same things from the when MacT left. An organization that doesn't address issues and holes. Every year there's a new problem. It use be lack of talent. Then it was too much youth. There have always been size issues. The farm system was a disaster. Lack of decent veterans. Could not win face-offs, and struggled 5x5. Now its special teams, defensive zone coverage and goaltending. Overall its confidence.

Last night I saw a team that is like the Oilers. Poor ownership, piles of high draft picks. However they have figured out. Garth Snow is no longer a laughing stock, he has drafted and developed his talent. Filled in the holes with quality veterans, and found value contracts. Who would thought Thomas Hickey, and that McDonald guy would be top 4 defenceman. This is my only hope, that one day this group of Oilers clicks. I'd love to become the next NY Islanders at this point.

The fix is simple, clean out the whole management group. Find a new organizational philosophy, put quality individuals in place. Get rid of the old boys, the nepotism, and start fresh. New owner would be good too.

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#82 Quicksilver ballet
October 18 2013, 08:56AM
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Hey, I have an idea....

Lets spend 600 million dollars on a new facilty so we can be force fed this sloth for another 40 yrs.

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#83 Loweblows
October 18 2013, 09:01AM
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If Krueger was still the coach and employed the same PK and PP what would our record be......just wondering

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#84 PrairieDog19
October 18 2013, 09:05AM
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-30- wrote:

The most myopic people on the planet? Oilers fans.

I've suffered as long as anyone with the ineptitude in management but how about some perspective?

How many games are we into the season? The team is AGAIN learning a whole new system. If things are still this bad before Christmas I'll be concerned.

Almost every team has a losing streak during the season. Thank goodness ours is early.

So much for reason and common sense on here.

-30-

I'm with you on this one. I am personally glad the slump is happening this early on in the season. I think they'll be better for it and in a couple months time things will be a lot different.

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#85 Serious Gord
October 18 2013, 09:15AM
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Loweblows wrote:

If Krueger was still the coach and employed the same PK and PP what would our record be......just wondering

The last twelve games last year the oil won 3. - not much different than this year.

As for posters above assigning blame - there is plenty to go around: MacT didn't fix the teams imbalances, Eakins is trying to implement an esoteric D and seems unable to implement tacics to open up the game in the third when the the team is behind, and on and on.

But at the very core the reason is favoritism. The old boys - sycophants to the owner have corrupted the entire organization - destroying initiative and morale.

The way to fix it is trickle-down: change the pres at the top with an outsider who owes no favours to anyone and let him start the process of holding people to account and removing those who are incompetent.

Yes that means more pain before a turnaround - likely a few if not all of the stars will be on their way out either from lack of oerformance or because their next contract will be too dear- but the window to win the cup with them was already less than four years, with this lost season and some pretty harsh changes during next year (another missed playoffs?) cuts that to a very unlikely two years.

Depressing outlook I grant you, but the agony and - even more forbidding - the apathy this favoritism will generate if left in place will be far worse.

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#86 Old School G
October 18 2013, 09:15AM
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Dear GM MacT,

Please swallow your pride call Kenny Holland and beg him to offer you advice. Take notes and do exactly as he says.

Thank You,

Oilers Fans Everywhere

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#87 TigerUnderGlass
October 18 2013, 09:22AM
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Loweblows wrote:

I agree with Willis that all 3 goals that got by DD were the result of defensive breakdowns. I agree that even the best goaltenders would have a hard time with any of those goals last night. But if say Roy faced the same 3 he would at least save one, hence the term "big save". I saw standard positional saves by DD last night but he didnt make the big save and that is the difference between winning and losing. Im sick of hearing about "improvements". Until they win park the tired cliches, close the dressing room door and figure out how to win. As for KLowe, how the he#€ he still has a job is beyond comprehension. Could you imagine any other business where the Manager ran 7 consecutive years in the red and still manages to keep their job?

If you think those 3 were the only shots taken from Dubnyk's doorstep you weren't watching.

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#88 S cottV
October 18 2013, 09:23AM
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Dubnyk did the job - 37 of 40 and no fault on the 3 GA's. Once again - very poor coverage on the 2 even strength goals and the short handed goal. This swarm defence continues to produce glaring scoring chances against the Oilers, as the guys struggle to implement it. Don't like the system at all and I really doubt that it will work at the NHL level. The most typical defensive zone systems, involve a combination of zone and man to man coverage, depending on where the threat is. Some teams throw in occaisional swarm tactics in certain situations, where options are particularly limited and there is a surprise element. To swarm as the default, where there is no surprise element - is kind of like a football team blitzing all the time. With the fluidity and speed of NHL hockey, I just dont see how you can get away with overly forcing the defensive process.

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#89 tileguy
October 18 2013, 09:23AM
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One thing I do know for sure, you won't see me spending 2 beans to go watch a hockey game. How much for a beer now?

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#90 TigerUnderGlass
October 18 2013, 09:25AM
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madjam wrote:

How much longer do we wait for our young core to develop before they contemplate trading some ? The teams progressing , but they are not . They are costing us most games if you consider plus minus stats . Only Eberle @ plus 2 is a positive . Amazingly Arcobello @ plus 4 . Hopkins -9 as an example . The rest of fab 5 beyond Eberle equally bad . Is it the system , coaching ,or the players failure to improve ? We re not going to win much if they are the culprits with glaring bad plus minus figures far exceeding rest of club . We have a problem and it appears to be the kids .

Short version: You believe the team should make roster decisions based entirely on a statistic NOBODY believes means anything.

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#91 Hinter
October 18 2013, 09:28AM
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Hey Everyone the person to blame is KEVEN LOWE,this clown needs to go!

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#92 Danger Pay
October 18 2013, 09:29AM
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Please sir, can I have some more humble pie?

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#93 ubermiguel
October 18 2013, 09:30AM
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Dubnyk was .925 last night (he's regressing to his career mean!). His confidence is back, the team will feed of it and play with more confidence themselves.

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#94 Reg Dunlop
October 18 2013, 09:41AM
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A veil of tears shrouds oilerville today. Wait until Nov.16. A hockey night in Canada curb stomp administered by the flames could be the final straw. Of course we will have a record like 6-15 by then and the season will have been written off. Thanks again, Mr. Katz.

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#95 Evilas
October 18 2013, 09:42AM
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The season has barely started and the Oilers are drafting FIRST again and Colorada and the Leafs are going to meet in the finals.

I admit I was ready to stop watching, because I had very high expectations. But really what is happening with this team. Lets see, new coach from outside organization with totally new system for the first time since Quinn, several new players: Arco, Peron, Gordon who are major improvements over who they replaced. Jonessu, who is doing very well and I daresay an upgrade. An AHL 4th line - the organization has better players than that, hopefully they will be in place soon.

Dmen- Belov, Ference. The D has improved. There are proven winners on this team like Gordon, Peron and Ference. They are playing better and will start to win when the PP gets it's $h!+ together, it has been awful. The goaltending straightens itself out (and it will) and the players tighten up their coverage in their own zone.

Patience my fellow fans, the ship will be turning around in the next few games.

Jonathan, I wonder if you could do a comparison of this season's first 10 games W/L, save %, shots for/against, scoring chances for/against, FO's F/A, etc as well as key advanced stats vs the previous 5 seasons (or even to 2005-06?

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#96 loweblows
October 18 2013, 09:45AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Oilers were outshot what 15-5 in the 3rd period? I'd say Dubnyk did a hell of a job keeping them in it. He made plenty of "big saves" and gave them a chance to win the game.

'Dubnyk did a hell of a job keeping them in it". Ya he kept them in it but he didn't win it. That's the difference. In the tired world of clichés spewed by Management and pablum fed to "the kids" it sounds as if you are accepting failure. Desperation has set in and at this point only Wins matter-improvements up my a#*! What a f@#$&%! mess!

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#97 Soccer Steve
October 18 2013, 09:48AM
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A buddy and I were watching the game last night. I said to him that if we swapped jerseys - only jerseys and nothing else - with Detroit I bet that the new Oilers team of all Detroit players would start to lose consistently and stop making the playoffs every year. And that the new Red Wings team of all Edmonton players would start to win, etc.

And I think I'm right. That has to mean only one thing.

We all know what that is.

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#98 Mark B
October 18 2013, 09:51AM
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What I could not understand about last nights game was the powerplay? In the second period the Oilers had 3 powerplays all in a row 6 minutes! Yet I did not see Belov on the powerplay at all?? This is a guy with a good shoot, keeps it low and makes sure it get through. If he was on my team and I had a powerplay I would have Belov out ther as much as possible and just keep feeding him the puck!! Or am I missing something????

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#99 loweblows
October 18 2013, 09:51AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

If you think those 3 were the only shots taken from Dubnyk's doorstep you weren't watching.

should I have used the word "huge save" instead of "big save"

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#100 Dave
October 18 2013, 09:52AM
Trash it!
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** wrote:

I would fire everyone who directly has any say on the Oilers operations , from the assistant coaches Smith and Buchberger, to Kevin Lowe, to Laforge, Bob Stauffer, marketing, pro scouts, amateur scouts. Do a real cleanse.Otherwise it's the same voices regurgitating the same message over and over and over again ( and yes that was meant to sound extremely redundant).

Bob stays.

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