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.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Spydyr
October 17 2013, 09:00PM
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Sure only one weak goal.He is getting better,

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#2 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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#3 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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#4 Smokey
October 17 2013, 09:42PM
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Roy and Hasek, would of got us a win.

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#5 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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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 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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#11 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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#12 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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#13 LoweBlow
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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#14 DSF
October 17 2013, 09:11PM
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LoweBlow 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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#15 LoweBlow
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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#16 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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#17 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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#18 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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#19 -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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#20 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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#21 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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#22 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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#23 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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#24 RexLibris
October 17 2013, 09:03PM
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Tavares'?

Tavari?

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#25 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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#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 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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#29 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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#30 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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#31 madjam
October 18 2013, 10:11AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

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

It's a major stat and deserves some weight in analysing a player and team performance . If you add up our core players bad +- you see they are on for the equivalent of one or more goal against almost every game . That adds up to losses , not even ties in the majority of games . The stat lets one know whom is most responsible . You've seen the games , are those stats not indicative of how we are playing , and whose on for all those goals against ? I made the premise about who is responsible (the core) and merely used that stat to further amplify it .

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#32 Virtual_Xi
October 18 2013, 11:21AM
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37/40 after 60, but 22/25 after 40 when it counted. I'm sorry but .880% aint gonna win you games.

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#33 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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#34 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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#35 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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#36 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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#37 Quintana
October 18 2013, 10:12AM
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Bruins wrote:

I do not understand how kevin lowe keeps his job????

Also Dallas Eakins .......sorry but he's out of this league.

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#38 LOIL99
October 18 2013, 11:23AM
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The whole fanbase needs to take a breath. The core of this team is 24 an under. Hockey players generally don't hit their prime until 24-26. Obviously there are notable exceptions (Crosby Stamkos Ovechkin etc) but unfortunately we do not have any of those caliber of players on this team. Great players our guys will be, but not superstars like the 3 above. But that's ok, teams have won cups with much less than we have.

Expecting playoffs at this point is a tall order. Realistically this team is too young to be really successful at this point. Expecting them to win cups with their core players barely leagal to drink in the USA is unrealistic and causing panic in the streets.

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#39 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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#40 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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#41 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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#42 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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 **
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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#47 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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#48 LoweBlow
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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#49 2004Z06
October 18 2013, 08:32AM
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4
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
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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#50 Rdubb
October 18 2013, 08:38AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

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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