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 hags9k
October 19 2013, 06:54PM
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Great to see Dubnyk firm up these last couple games with his back against the wall. This experience should make him better.

I don't think there was any intent on the hit. His knee came into Halls as he comes in and tries to make a check. Very frustrating but this isn't a dirty hit. Hall on Clutterbuck on the other hand...

I think we are seeing a permanent shift away from the enforcer role. We all know that toughness is great and helps win and the Oilers don't have enough, but having fighters at the end of the bench is now useless. Toughness is a great bonus, but you have to be able to play first and foremost.

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#52 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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#53 Harlie
October 19 2013, 05:31PM
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@oilinmyblood

Awesome on your kid's first game, great experience!

And your right, it's clear that Eberle is the straw that stirs the drink. I'm expecting a big year out of him and he is great defensively IMO. Hope he makes the Olympic team as I would have him on my roster for sho.

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#54 Mikey
October 19 2013, 08:52PM
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Ambassador humantorch wrote:

Sure is a good thing we've got Gadzic and Brown on the bench (and Macintyre on the IR) to keep hits like that Gryba one from happening.

You are a gomer. So what you are saying is, no team should ever dare hit one of the oilers. Hahaha

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#55 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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#56 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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#57 Spydyr
October 19 2013, 04:30PM
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Jay Gray wrote:

Teams have won cups with goaltending worse than we currently have. Sure, it's great to have Roy in net. But we have Dubnyk and when he's good, he's good. No sense freaking out and overpaying for someone who may, or may not be better than what we currently have.

The overpay is probably why Mac-T has not brought in another goalie.With the moves he tried to make this summer it sure looks like Mac-T wants an upgrade in goal.With Dubnyk being a UFA this summer I would be shocked to see him back next year.

The trade deadline might be the time to move him to a contender looking for a back up for the playoffs.Of course that would only happen if the Oilers were outside playoff contention.

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#58 slats
October 19 2013, 06:18PM
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@Robin Brownlee

First I think people are keying on the lead with the knee aspect because whenever people are dissecting questionable hits that's what's always mentioned. See Hall's hit on Clutterbuck and that suspension was based on the fact he lead with his knee.

http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/24107975/gif-taylor-hall-leaves-game-after-hit-from-eric-gryba

Did he target the knee? Not sure but he was beat to the outside and it looks like he was trying not to get to beat with an outside-in move and he did what he could to slow him down which was get a piece of Hall and gets his knee ... These photos seem to show knee first then shoulder.

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#59 Serious Gord
October 19 2013, 08:35PM
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"...looking for a job selling insurance".

As a meatball insurance salesman I represent that remark (beats fixing rock chips in windshields - pays better too..)

As for Dubnyks play- it was competent but he never really had to make anything spectacular. The Ottawa goalie on the other hand was spectacular on a few occasions.

The team itself made out like a thief in the night in getting a win. The sens outplayed them in every aspect except where it really counts - the scoresheet. Were they to play ten times the sens would win eight. God they finished checks - when was the last time we saw the oil do that?

Montreal should be interesting...

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#60 KozyMel
October 19 2013, 08:50PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

"...looking for a job selling insurance".

As a meatball insurance salesman I represent that remark (beats fixing rock chips in windshields - pays better too..)

As for Dubnyks play- it was competent but he never really had to make anything spectacular. The Ottawa goalie on the other hand was spectacular on a few occasions.

The team itself made out like a thief in the night in getting a win. The sens outplayed them in every aspect except where it really counts - the scoresheet. Were they to play ten times the sens would win eight. God they finished checks - when was the last time we saw the oil do that?

Montreal should be interesting...

"represent" the remark means you are like it, that you mirror it.

"resent" the remark means you find it offensive.

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#61 Rob...
October 19 2013, 10:12PM
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KozyMel wrote:

Principe tweeted that Hall, "walked out of Edmonton dressing room ... no major limp and didn't seem to be overly favouring his left knee".

That is a very good sign.

Good to hear. I hope it's the sort of injury that just needs a few days to tighten back up on its own again.

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#62 The Funky Chicken Has Left The Building
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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#63 chadster
October 19 2013, 08:46PM
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I always knew Dubsy was the best...only 5 points of a playoff spot...just need a new left winger and we're set!

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#64 Oiler Al
October 19 2013, 09:54PM
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It was ugly, but you take the much needed win. Dubby saved the day on this one! With a couple days off, hope they work on their power play.

Was Hemsky injured? or he just take another day off?

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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 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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#67 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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#68 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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#69 **
October 19 2013, 07:43PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J6-3l3hCm0

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#70 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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#71 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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#72 BillHK
October 21 2013, 02:15AM
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@Spydyr

No more Horc.

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#73 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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