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 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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#52 Bucknuck
October 18 2013, 10:16AM
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Finally Dubnyk wakes up, but the Oilers are playing like the 2010 version. So if they play the way they played against Pitt and Wash, and Dubnyk plays the way he did last night... then the team will start winning.

Sounds like a plan. Go Oil.

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#53 Dan 1919
October 18 2013, 11:47AM
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Let's not get carried away and all remember why Dubnyk faced 40 shots. He is accepted around the league as a weak goalie, therefore the opposition puts EVERYTHING on net, often slanting his save% in his favour.

None the less, he played average (as mentioned in prior posts, he should have made a big save on at least one of the three goals).

I do not blame Eakins as the Oilers are again at a similar point to last year. They often show great signs of improvement overall, but at the end of the day the defence is just too weak to cut it in this league.

If Dubnyk continues mediocracy, it moves the main area of concern from goaltending back to defence. If Dubnyk plays his average style and the Oil had solid defence, it would be enough to make the playoffs with a first or second round exit, eventually hoping Dubnyk improves, or having no choice to trade for a legit goalie once the team is a contender.

I feel the upcoming move to make (assuming Dubnyk is average), is trading a key piece (current roster player and/or this year's first round pick) for a key defence-man. Then with Nurse, Klefbom etc coming, the team will continue improve. Bonus for our young Dmen's development also.

Nashville continues to be handcuffed offensively. Do they really need both of those allstars back there? Look what the Oil did with one Pronger...

We've seen enough of this stuff, popcorn is fresh, writings on the wall, WE ARE READY FOR THE BLOCKBUSTER MR. MACTAVISH!

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#54 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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#55 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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#56 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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#57 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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#58 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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#59 quinn the eskimo
October 17 2013, 10:50PM
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@Butters

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

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#60 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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#61 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 18 2013, 12:09AM
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One would hope Messier gives the Lord of the Rings a smack in the head and asks how the hell he let this organization get so bush league.

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

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

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#66 Geitus Maximus
October 18 2013, 10:19AM
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madjam wrote:

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 .

I see your point but whats the alternative, fire the team? Its starting to seem very clear that the problems seem to be 1. Goaltending 2. Swarm defense

Dub needs to pull out wins, not keep us in a game.

Eakins system is not a major league system. He needs to go with a more conventional system that the players can excel in. The team skill has improved with which not many would argue yet the results arent there. SYSTEM. Eakins needs to adapt or his stint may be a short one. Again, whats the alternative, fire the team and start over?

Ps no panic moves like dealing Yak for someone elses damaged goods. Other teams are salivating about an oilers firesale.

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#67 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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#68 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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#69 kgo
October 17 2013, 10:32PM
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looked like the centres were at fault on all 3....

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

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

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

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

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

as opposed

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

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

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#73 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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#74 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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#75 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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#76 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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#77 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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#78 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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#79 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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#80 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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#81 RJ
October 18 2013, 10:24AM
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I used to be okay with the fact that my team sucked. I often thought that we had the best worst team in the league. But now, watching our prime time players take nights off when the team is in such rough shape is unacceptable.

Now I find myself reading about the oilers daily, When I don't even care about the outcome of the games

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#82 madjam
October 18 2013, 11:10AM
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Geitus Maximus wrote:

I see your point but whats the alternative, fire the team? Its starting to seem very clear that the problems seem to be 1. Goaltending 2. Swarm defense

Dub needs to pull out wins, not keep us in a game.

Eakins system is not a major league system. He needs to go with a more conventional system that the players can excel in. The team skill has improved with which not many would argue yet the results arent there. SYSTEM. Eakins needs to adapt or his stint may be a short one. Again, whats the alternative, fire the team and start over?

Ps no panic moves like dealing Yak for someone elses damaged goods. Other teams are salivating about an oilers firesale.

Recognizing problem and accepting it , is first step in solving it . Lets step back to Lowe and Tambellini assembling of our core for the future . they felt Oiler fans would support offensively gifted forwards over a slower rebuild from back end . They draft all wingers and no centermen or goalie or defence thru out Tams tenure that have panned out . This year we finally draft a defenceman first , but are not using him as yet . New Gm and coach just added more to problems . One has to wonder if Tams tenure and acquisitions should be gutted , and restart another rebuild with size and grit and backend coming to forefront . That should not require ridding ourselves of all of them , however . Little less flash and heap more crash and size so to speak .

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#83 k
October 18 2013, 11:24AM
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October 04 2013, 06:41PM

It matters not whether Nuge returns Oct 10th or Nov 10th because the Oilers are not close to being a playoff team. They simply have too many holes throughout their lineup.

4 years into the re-build and we have Ryan Smyth on the 1st line, we have named no less than 6 alternate captains and the coach believed there were others that were deserving, that almost had me throwing up in my mouth.

For a team that has played as soft as the Oilers over the past number of years one of their biggest problems is they don’t have an identity, they often play with fear and fold-up quicker than a cheap polyester suit when the going gets tough.

The culture that has existed in that locker room is toxic and as long as some of the core veterans remain I’m afraid that we’ll stay on the periphery despite drafting 1st overall three years running.

Many here at Oiler Nation believe that because they have been able to draft top prospects that other prospects and quality NHL players would be jumping at the opportunity to come aboard. That my friends isn’t going to happen very often, Schultz signed but others will simply move on to other teams.

It’s a little discerning when Jesse Joensuu is the best Oiler forward on opening night. The Oilers will probably finish ahead of the Flames in their division but not by much. MacT simply couldn’t get enough deals done, We are the worst run organization in hockey today, sorry Florida.

--------

This was posted October 04,13 and I'd like to retract what I said about the Calgary Flames.

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#84 Soccer Steve
October 18 2013, 11:31AM
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LOIL99 wrote:

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.

New to town?

Excuse me, but we don't need to take any breaths. We have been losing since Game 7 of the '06 run. That is too damn long. And since we are paying their bills we can do whatever we damn well please.

If only we could organize better in North America. Then they'd listen. Not a single fan-base in Europe would ever, ever, stand for being treated like Edmonton fans do.

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#85 pkam
October 18 2013, 12:40PM
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loweblows wrote:

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

I still remember the game against the Blue Jacket last season, we were outshot 40-14. Dubnyk stop 39 of the 40 shots he faced and we won 3-1 (one is a EN).

However, according to your logic, if we didn't score the 3 goals and lost 0-1, it was still Dubnyk's fault because he didn't make that one huge save.

Basically, what you said is no goalie is good enough when his team lose the game.

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#86 Smokey
October 18 2013, 01:58PM
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Dan 1919 wrote:

Let's not get carried away and all remember why Dubnyk faced 40 shots. He is accepted around the league as a weak goalie, therefore the opposition puts EVERYTHING on net, often slanting his save% in his favour.

None the less, he played average (as mentioned in prior posts, he should have made a big save on at least one of the three goals).

I do not blame Eakins as the Oilers are again at a similar point to last year. They often show great signs of improvement overall, but at the end of the day the defence is just too weak to cut it in this league.

If Dubnyk continues mediocracy, it moves the main area of concern from goaltending back to defence. If Dubnyk plays his average style and the Oil had solid defence, it would be enough to make the playoffs with a first or second round exit, eventually hoping Dubnyk improves, or having no choice to trade for a legit goalie once the team is a contender.

I feel the upcoming move to make (assuming Dubnyk is average), is trading a key piece (current roster player and/or this year's first round pick) for a key defence-man. Then with Nurse, Klefbom etc coming, the team will continue improve. Bonus for our young Dmen's development also.

Nashville continues to be handcuffed offensively. Do they really need both of those allstars back there? Look what the Oil did with one Pronger...

We've seen enough of this stuff, popcorn is fresh, writings on the wall, WE ARE READY FOR THE BLOCKBUSTER MR. MACTAVISH!

If Dubby was universally acclaimed to be a bad goalie, then there is maybe 12-15 better goalies better then him based on three years of data. And based on just stats his numbers were better then Price, Brodeur, Luongo, Kipper, Miller, Ward last year. We all know stats aren't everything but he really was not considered weak except for eastern media until this year. Before that he was just not considered elite, but average. Teams put shots on net because he has shown a propensity for the odd softy. If you've watched Luongo for the last couple years he's done the same thing, but people look beyond that cause of the team, track record, etc. Track record buys you a lot of rope. Dubby is close to the end of his at the moment. Remember how brutal Luongo has been at times over the last three years. Canucks should have a cup.

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#87 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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#88 Devolution
October 17 2013, 10:42PM
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Butters wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#91 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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#92 Racki
October 18 2013, 12:18AM
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I know there are some needs to address on this team such as goaltending (a 1B guy, in my opinion, a #1D would also be very nice)... but I have been wondering lately about this whole swarm system. I know there are teams out there that do this very well, but I'm having a tough time believing that the Oilers are going to grasp this concept before the whole season slips away. I'm fully expecting one day that the coaches will just completely dumb it down and go back to the zone defense that everyone learns as kids (and some teams implement).

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

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

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

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

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#94 **
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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#95 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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#96 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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#97 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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#98 outdoorzguy
October 18 2013, 08:32AM
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@Bruins

His wife and Katz's wife are bff's

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#99 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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#100 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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