THIS AND THAT: DUBNYK AND A PEST ALERT

Robin Brownlee
October 19 2013 03:46PM

Devan Dubnyk has taken a lot of bowel movement from fans of the Edmonton Oilers this season, and with good reason, so it's only fair to point out he was very good in a much-needed 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators today.

His early-season struggles duly documented, lamented and, in many cases blown out of proportion, Dubnyk turned aside 35 of the 36 shots he faced against the Senators, allowing only a bunt single by Ottawa tough guy Chris Neil in a scramble at the side of the net to find the twine as the Oilers won their first road game this season.

"It was a big game for us and we knew that coming in," said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who had two goals and an assist. "Doobie stood on his head for us, so it's always nice. We got a win for him, so it was a big game. We needed those points and we got them."

It goes without saying, or should, that Dubnyk's performance against the Senators doesn't guarantee he has regained his mojo – just as his difficult start didn’t mean he should go looking for a job selling insurance -- but it's a start. One the Oilers desperately needed.

If Dubnyk can come up with an encore against the Montreal Canadiens to end the road trip Tuesday, the Oilers can salvage a swing that had disaster written all over it going into Ottawa.

THAT %$&# PERRON

David Perron didn't manage a point against Ottawa, but he was in the middle of the action the entire game and was a royal pain in the backside for the Senators between whistles and after them. When's the last time fans could say that about any of the Oilers players?

Perron ran over goaltender Robin Lehner early in the game, drawing a crowd intent on taking a poke at him. He did likewise later on, providing Lehner a refreshing shower of snow in the crease. He also tried to coax Norris Trophy defenseman Erik Karlsson into a penalty with the tried-and-true stinky glove treatment.

Having a gritty, in-your-face player on the third or fourth line is one thing. Having an agitator skilled enough to play top-six minutes while getting under the skin of opponents is quite another, and it's something the Oilers have been lacking for a long, long time.

THE WAY I SEE IT . . .

. . . Brutal luck for the Oilers to lose Taylor Hall with a left knee injury on a hit by Eric Gryba, but from the replays I saw, I couldn't find any evidence of an attempt by Gryba to stick out his knee on the Edmonton forward.

There's no doubt the contact with Hall was knee-on-knee, but I neither saw Gryba widen his stance to get a piece of Hall or drag his leg in any manner as to clip him. Many Oilers fans, as is to be expected, disagreed with me on Twitter today, saying Gryba had "led" with his knee. I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but I think that suggestion is a reach.

"I know it's his knee, but I don't know the severity of it," coach Dallas Eakins said during a post-game interview. It seems unlikely, as of now, Hall will play against the Canadiens.

. . . Mercy, the power play is struggling. The Oilers went 0-for-5, including two full minutes of a 5-on-3 advantage that generated just one shot. I'd hope Eakins will get back to the drawing board on this because what he's been drawing up isn’t remotely close to working.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 yaz
October 19 2013, 11:27PM
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Eating crow which I don't mind when we win . Good for the Oil and the bounceback today. I am still not convinced but I liked that we started playing more grinders on the PK and kept some of our skill players fresher. Not perfect but better coaching and our own zone play was better. Carry it into Montreal and I hope it will continue. Tough schedule ahead so not much room for any nights off

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#52 the dude abides
October 20 2013, 01:00AM
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You have to win first to have a good pp. 5v5 success precedes pp success for good teams.

nice to see the win today. Nuge is a beaut!

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#53 N4R
October 20 2013, 01:28AM
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Edmonton Oilers vs Ottawa Senators (19.10.2013) http://prognoz-na-sport.info/news/skachat_match_edmonton_oilers_vs_ottawa_senators_nhl_2013_2014_regular_season_19_10_2013/2013-10-20-6857

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#54 Racki
October 20 2013, 02:01AM
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My thoughts on Perron.... he basically is a Max Lapierre that can score goals. Seems like he would fit in with the Vancouver mould too. This isn't a slight against him... we have always hated those types and wished for one or two of our own here. Aside from the pestiness and feistyness, he can score goals too. Best trade of MacT's short GM'ing career, and probably the best move by the Oilers in quite some time. Maybe since acquiring Pronger?

Dubnyk had a couple scary moments early on (one where he had his back turned to the entire zone, two feet outside the net), but outside of that, he was superb. Great game, and he really deserved the shutout. Bloody bouncing puck.. fluke goal.

Disappointing to see the Oilers put up back-to-back poor games too. Got the win in this one (thanks mostly to Dubnyk), but denied Duby his first win in the last game. The Corsi worm has turned. Not doing so well in that area any more. Even Eakins is starting to question whether he has to change the system before things spiral out of hand.

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#55 God
October 20 2013, 02:03AM
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KozyMel wrote:

The problem is that Eakins sat the wrong Schultz.

Just like he sat Yakupov, he should let the defence's MINUS leader watch a game or two from upstairs to get a grasp of what playing D in the NHL is all about.

J.Schultz was on the ice for the two E/S goals vs PIT, the shorthanded goal and E/S goal in the NYI game, and on the ice for the E/S goal this game.

Does he have a "no-consequence" clause in his contract? Does he play for Kavis Reed?

NO! So park his defensive liability a$$ upstairs and watch a few!!

I'm not a total hater, but why doesn't he have to pay like the others do?

I completely agree. A culture of accountability is important. All of these players need to know that there are consequences for errors and a lack of production. Cane them if you have to!

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#56 Spydyr
October 20 2013, 07:11AM
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God wrote:

I completely agree. A culture of accountability is important. All of these players need to know that there are consequences for errors and a lack of production. Cane them if you have to!

The problem is there is no accountability anywhere in management. As long as you know what it takes to win because you have six rings you have a job for life.

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#57 Rdubb
October 20 2013, 07:31AM
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Why on earth did Eakins ever MESS with the PP & the PK, both of which have been in the top 10 (or damn near) the past few seasons. There were many other things that he could have re-worked, messed with, but doing so with the PP & PK should have been a no-brainer to leave alone. I do know & understand that poorer than average goaltending caused a few goals on the PK that shouldn't have gone in, but from the games I have been able to catch on the tube, their d-zone coverage has been nothing less than abysmal, & I think I am being polite... On the PP, missing Gagner hurts, but, they now have Peron, Belov, and a year older Yak to play on the 2nd unit, so why isn't Eberle playing with Hall, RNH & Schultz? Than the 5th guy on the 1st unit can be Boyd, as he is great in the circle (getting the Oilers the puck instead of chasing it), plus, he'll play in front, take a bit of a beating, distract the goalie and defenders, and maybe deflect a puck or two, @ the very least, create MORE ROOM for the skilled guys...But Eakins, for some unknown reason, seems to want to kill the PP and PK, maybe he wishes the Oilers to be in the mid 20's for both, I don't know, but his handling of both is NOT GOOD... Although, 5 on 5 play is somewhat better, but it couldn't get much worse than last season...

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#58 Greg the Hammer Valentine
October 20 2013, 07:54AM
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I was actually at the game. It was nice to see so many Oilers jerseys in the crowd.

As for the 2 minutes of 5 on 3, it was the worst display of special units I had ever seen.

It was an overall decent 60-minutes effort, although I didn't think Hall was having a very good game before his injury. RNH had a monster game.

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#59 John Doe
October 20 2013, 08:40AM
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Rdubb wrote:

Why on earth did Eakins ever MESS with the PP & the PK, both of which have been in the top 10 (or damn near) the past few seasons. There were many other things that he could have re-worked, messed with, but doing so with the PP & PK should have been a no-brainer to leave alone. I do know & understand that poorer than average goaltending caused a few goals on the PK that shouldn't have gone in, but from the games I have been able to catch on the tube, their d-zone coverage has been nothing less than abysmal, & I think I am being polite... On the PP, missing Gagner hurts, but, they now have Peron, Belov, and a year older Yak to play on the 2nd unit, so why isn't Eberle playing with Hall, RNH & Schultz? Than the 5th guy on the 1st unit can be Boyd, as he is great in the circle (getting the Oilers the puck instead of chasing it), plus, he'll play in front, take a bit of a beating, distract the goalie and defenders, and maybe deflect a puck or two, @ the very least, create MORE ROOM for the skilled guys...But Eakins, for some unknown reason, seems to want to kill the PP and PK, maybe he wishes the Oilers to be in the mid 20's for both, I don't know, but his handling of both is NOT GOOD... Although, 5 on 5 play is somewhat better, but it couldn't get much worse than last season...

Kelly Buchberger runs the special teams, Eakins hasn't changed anything. Edmonton has just been really bad on the special teams so far. All there is to it.

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#60 Spydyr
October 20 2013, 08:46AM
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John Doe wrote:

Kelly Buchberger runs the special teams, Eakins hasn't changed anything. Edmonton has just been really bad on the special teams so far. All there is to it.

I'm thinking Ralph might have had a thing or two to do with the special teams last year.

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#61 2004Z06
October 20 2013, 09:33AM
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The Oilers will play better without Hall in the lineup. There is something up with this kid. Has to be a reason why not a single Oiler player comes to his aid....EVER!

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#62 Spydyr
October 20 2013, 10:04AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

The Oilers will play better without Hall in the lineup. There is something up with this kid. Has to be a reason why not a single Oiler player comes to his aid....EVER!

Yeah I have noticed that also.

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#63 flyricky
October 20 2013, 10:54AM
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We still need a goalie. How many games did Dubnyk steal for us down the stretch last year in a 48 game season? Perron played great yesterday even though he botched that 2 on 1 near the end. We need a Chris Neal. Get it done MacT. Get rid of one of our soft forward. MacT blew it on Clutterbuck.

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#64 The Too Silent Ghost
October 20 2013, 11:33AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Yeah I have noticed that also.

It's comments like these that frustrate me most as and Oilers fan and speak to the downside of a fansite like this. Lately players like Hall and Yakupov have been lightning rods for controversy and criticism from a frustrated fanbase, but unfortuately it's gone beyond on ice performance to aspersions about their character and armchair prognostigating about what they must be like "in the room".

Yesterday on Lowetide's site there were concerns about Yakupov and Eberle because of a purported shum by Eberle during his goal celebration (seemingly at odds with the picture in the Journal of Eberle with his arm around Yak). Similar comments have been made here and seem to me to go beyond frustration with losing given they began to appear during the talk of Hall as Captain.

I'll take the fact that Hall has worn an A for the last two years as a sign of how he is viewed "in the room" not only by management, but also his peers, just as I'll take note of the role he played for Windsor. I'm not sure if speculation to the contrary comes from jealousy of a young guy in a hockey crazed city making a lot of money, or one too many friend of a friend stories of people who "saw him in a bar one night", but it's a sad reflection of the propensity of many card carrying members of Oilersnation to turn on their own and cloak it in frustration caused by many years of losing.

I can't wait for this week's coverage and commentary about how Hall is injury prone due to what is arguably a run of bad luck, rather than chronic injuries a la Forsberg or Bure.

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#65 nunyour
October 20 2013, 01:32PM
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Hemsky needs to grow a pair,it's getting embarrassing watching teams use him as a punching bag

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#66 nick
October 20 2013, 06:21PM
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@druds

Nothing wrong with sitting vets when it is called for, to do it just to put in McT's stupid signing is another thing. Why would Schultz be a scratch??? Probably Ference deserved to sit more than anyone else. Not Schultz's mom but quite clearly you are Eakin's dad. Tell your idiot son he is not coaching in the AHL anymore.

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#67 Mike Modano's Dog
October 20 2013, 07:33PM
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The hit by Gryba had no malice intended in my opinion, either.

Hall just got caught up in the aftermath from an attempted check. Not sure if there would be any injury there, 99 times out of 100...

It didn't seem to take much to damage that knee though which is the most concerning thing to me from all of this.

I hope it is just a few days and then he is back, good as new! But as L.T. says, "we wait..."!

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#68 Zarny
October 20 2013, 10:22PM
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I don't think you can say Dubnyk's struggles were blown out of proportion. He was atrocious early in the season.

Perhaps it was equipment changes. Maybe he was gripping the stick too tight knowing this is it. This year is his shot to prove himself and taking a run at Schneider lets him know there are doubters in the organization. Or maybe starting the year with the top two C hurt meant the Oilers were just a really bad team in front of him.

Patience is the key. The decision should be made on an appropriate body of work. This roster is not a Stanley Cup contender. Best case was always 7th or 8th and 9-11th just as likely with schedule and injuries. There are a few key moves MacT has to pull off for the Oilers to be real contenders but he has 2 seasons to make them happen.

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#69 rickithebear
October 20 2013, 11:19PM
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Fly ricky :

Dubnyk had the best even strength Save% in the Game for the last 3 years. Your opinion fits the definition: a point of view not based on knowledge or Fact.

Red on the 70's show would cal you a D...........

The guy faced 2nd most shots per game in that 3 year period.

I think if he faced 23 Shots/gm playing with NJD instead of 32.3 shots per game with edmonton. he wpuld have stole more games with his .920 save %.

The number of times i have heard: wins (goals for) affected by forwards. Goals against (shots faced) afffected by defence. Stolen games ? (best even Save %)

what a lot of trite BS.

i was scared MacT would have pulled a DF movr and seen dubnyk win acup with teams that prevent shots.

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#70 BillHK
October 21 2013, 02:15AM
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@Spydyr

No more Horc.

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#71 S cottV
October 21 2013, 11:20AM
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Nothing like a win to calm things down a bit. Nice to see Dubnyk play like most believe he can. Of course - he had reasonble system support in front of him for a change. Not too many glaring scoring chances, despite the Oilers being outshot. I agree with prior posters, that it appears Eakins maybe pushed for too much change to existing systems. I remember reading an article where Eakins said something to the effect, that if the Oilers are to win, they will have to do it his way. Well - "if his way" was way different than the "existing way" - there is only so much change any organization can absorb - without short to mid term performance reprecussions. Change usually needs to be prioritized and eased in over some reasonable time. With MacT's passionate assertion that it is time to win now, it seems that Eakins may have gone too far - exposing MacT in the process. As for goaltending - hitting a home run with a proven top end goaltender is probably unattainable and or too costly. It may be sufficient to pick up someone like a James Reimer - to work in strong tandem with Dubnyk, whereby they push each other to earn starting assignments.

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#72 Robin Brownlee
October 21 2013, 12:32PM
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@Zarny

When Dubnyk was stinking through his first four starts, people were calling for this trade and that trade etc etc -- Dubnyk's struggles were very real, but in many cases reaction to them were certainly blown out of proportion.

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#73 Funky Chicken Shizzle For U
October 21 2013, 03:52PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Yeah I have noticed that also.

Get serious...this is professional sport. If liking or disliking a teammate determines what you do or don't do on the ice you're probably not going to be around long.

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