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 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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#2 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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#3 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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#4 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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#5 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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#6 Puckbag
October 18 2013, 10:49AM
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At the press conference which introduced MacT as the new GM, which reporter asked the question (paraphrase) "This is the same management team that sunk the Oilers over the last few years, what makes you think this same team will bring them back into contention?"?

It was this question which Lowe responded with his infamous "I have six Stanley Cup rings, I think I know how to win."

I would love to see this reporter ask this question again. And again, and again......

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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 Lochenzo
October 18 2013, 10:03AM
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Impressive to watch the rampant speculation coming out of Toronto and TSN regarding Nail Yakupov. Those rumours sure took off in total favour of one team. I'm just surprised it didn't include the Oilers trading the right to call ourselves 1990 Stanley Cup champions to the Leafs for a couple of Toronto zoo elephants and a bag of peanuts.

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#11 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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#12 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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#13 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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#14 God
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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#15 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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#16 Rob...
October 18 2013, 09:53AM
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Duby didn't play bad, Hall broke an Oilers record previously held by Gretzky, and Yakupov was both trying to use his line-mates and his one-timers didn't miss the net.

I'm not happy with yet another loss, but I'm an Oilers fan... in order to survive this without losing my mind I need to embrace the positives.

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#17 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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#18 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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#19 God
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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#20 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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#21 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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#22 Rama Lama
October 18 2013, 10:08AM
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Dallas Eakins system has to take the balme for everything that has happened. Exactly why are all the defender on the PK not covering the points any more and letting the opposition shoot at will.

Our PP and PK under this new system have been a joke! Eakins talks about a lot of things but so far .......it looks like a duck.

I don't care if the shot differential is better this year, our PP and PK look like a 5 year old drafted that plan.

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#23 **
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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#24 RexLibris
October 17 2013, 09:03PM
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Tavares'?

Tavari?

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#25 God
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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#26 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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#27 DSF
October 17 2013, 09:11PM
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God 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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#28 **
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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#29 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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#30 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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#31 Loweblows
October 18 2013, 05:19AM
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Pathetic.......nothing else to say

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#32 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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#33 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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#34 Bruins
October 18 2013, 08:08AM
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I do not understand how kevin lowe keeps his job????

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#35 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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#36 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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#37 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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#38 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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#39 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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#40 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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#41 God
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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#42 -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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 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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#47 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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#48 Spydyr
October 17 2013, 09:00PM
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Sure only one weak goal.He is getting better,

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#49 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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#50 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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