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 Ari Gold
October 19 2013, 05:19PM
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Great article RB. I agree with it all.

Here's to Hall missing nothing but the toilet during a midnight twinkle. Get this kid back in the lineup.

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#52 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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#53 Crackenbury
October 19 2013, 06:24PM
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Have the Oilers greatly improved their breaking out of the zone this year? I don't remember them in past years playing the puck off the side boards with the short little dump pass to a streaking player with the amount of frequency they are doing right now. I also see them them going backwards on the play to gain control far more than they ever have in the past. Some good things that Eakins must be stressing. However, I wish they had maintained the hitting strategy they started the year with. They looked like they might be difficult to play against. Now they look much like the soft team they have been for years.

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#54 Rama Lama
October 19 2013, 06:46PM
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The Hall incident was just a good old hockey play........Gryba did what every hockey player is taught to do......follow through on your hits.

Loved Perron and his game could not agree more with Robin on his effective play.....both skill and toughness.

Although we played a better game, I still hold that I can see no real system at play both on the PP or PK........unless you call organized chaos a system.

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#55 druds
October 19 2013, 07:48PM
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nick wrote:

I am so glad for Dubnyk, he is a good goalie and his game is coming around. Maybe now all the talk can change to what a stupid coach the Oilers have and not how bad the goaltending is. This little Hitler has no idea how to handle NHL guys, how do you sit Schultz for the give away machine Grebeshkov. That is a brutal decision as well as playing your best defensive defenseman Smid 14 minutes. Are you kidding me, this makes no sense. I am sure Schultz wants out of this circus now and Smid probably not far behind. The fact that Schultz sat is a slap in a veteran players face and Eakins has lost the respect of a lot of the players for that move. BRUTAL circus. This is without a doubt the worst organization in the game of hockey

Wow...take a pill buddy...I seem to remember last ytear that hunderds of you dogs were baying at kreuger for NOT sitting vets in the pressbox for their bad play and stupid mistakes and now when it happens its a travesty??? are you Schultz's mom or what?

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#56 KozyMel
October 19 2013, 08:47PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

I would absolutely love having Krueger back and replace the current assistants. Doubt he plays second fiddle to Eakins and takes an assistant role behind the bench though.

No question his special teams are dynamite though.

Could the fly him in with enough time to take over special teams before Tuesdays game?

I don't think anyone on the coaching staff ever spent a minute on an NHL power play, but neither did Kruger.

However, he did mange to run one of the best PP's in the NHL for two years.

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#57 KozyMel
October 19 2013, 09:05PM
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druds wrote:

Wow...take a pill buddy...I seem to remember last ytear that hunderds of you dogs were baying at kreuger for NOT sitting vets in the pressbox for their bad play and stupid mistakes and now when it happens its a travesty??? are you Schultz's mom or what?

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?

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#58 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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#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 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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#61 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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#62 steelymac
October 19 2013, 04:32PM
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Well Oil fans that was a well timed win and good for doobie!With Hall going down it sure is nice we have Yak to take his spot and Im sure glad we didn't trade him away this week.LOL.I heard Pitlicker may get the call up and that's great the kid hits like a train.Would the Oil bring Kreuger back for the special teams?Idoubt it as well, but they were a hell of a lot better last year than this year.

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#63 jonny94
October 19 2013, 04:51PM
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Dubnyk won us this game, and it definitely was one of the fans who supports the deporting of Dubnyk.

I'll give credit to where credit was deserved, well played Dubnyk, keep it up and prove us wrong.... Who knows we might make the playoffs if you do.

Nuge played well too.

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#64 P
October 19 2013, 05:03PM
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A lot to agree with here. Obviously, Dunbyk won this one today, and, it should be noted, played very well against the Islanders, giving the Oil a chance to win that one too. He has still has lots to prove but shame on those who threw him under the bus way too fast.

Yes, Perron was a pepper pot out there tonight and is a real positive addition. Yak also had his best game of the season with Nuge and Eberle and hopefully Eakins can keep them together for a while.

As for the PP, it has been awful lately and that 5-on-3 was brutal. Time to re-group. Is Kelly Buchberger really in charge of the PP? Time to watch some film of what they did the last two years when they were world beaters.

I agree Hall's knee injury was just one of those things, not a dirty play. I wonder if Gagner is ready to slot in for him against Montreal?

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#67 Oilbridge
October 19 2013, 05:44PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Hey Robin, either Quinn or Jamie Thomas mentioned that a team doctor was traveling with team on this trip. Hope that worst case scenario that Hall has a sprained knee, 3 weeks. The Pk was a lot better today in terms of their rotation. Look like the inside middle guy held his ground and the outside Fwd would swing around. Not sure if this was a change or if they have been doing all year. Great game by dubnyk! Unlucky on Neil's goal. Would've been extra sweet getting the shutout and shoving it to healy's fave tonight on the tube!

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

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#69 KozyMel
October 19 2013, 08:56PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Eakins mentioned Hall seeing the team doctors, which would seem to mean a trip back to Edmonton.

Not sure if Hall is headed back this way on his own before the team jets back, but I imagine one of the media members travelling with the team will provide an update.

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.

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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 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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