NEW FACES, NEW LEADERSHIP

Jason Gregor
October 02 2013 09:20AM

Jesse Joensuu made a solid first impression in his new Oilers jersey last night. He scored, had five shots, won lots of battles and showed a willingness to go to the tough areas. Dallas Eakins admitted one of his coaching mistakes last night was not using Joensuu more, and if he keeps playing with the type of desire he'll get more icetime.

Joensuu, Ales Hemsky, Boyd Gordon and the 4th played well, while some other struggled, mainly Devan Dubnyk.

Dubnyk had happy feet on the first goal and lost his net, and then whiffed on Jacob Trouba's long-range knuckler. Dubnyk needs to be better if the Oilers want to win, and more importantly if he wants to remain a starter next season. Goalies will have off nights, however, it will be magnified when it happens on opening night.

The bottom line is Dubnyk can't have many more games like that. He knows it and the Oilers know it. He's proven he can play better, but he needs to do it consistently. He'll be back between the pipes on Saturday, and he just needs to make the routine saves.

Hall made some great plays, but he also made some really bad decisions with the puck. He'll be better, and he better get used to playing a lot of minutes. Hall played 23:30 last night and Eakins said he would have no problem playing a forward 26-27 minutes. He wants his guys to be in great shape, and believes Hall can handle 26 minutes some nights.

THINGS I NOTICED...

  • The best change was the Oilers willingness not to just dump the puck out and lose possession. Often they would turn back, or pass it deep into their own zone. There are certain times you dump and chase, but too often in previous years the Oilers would just hammer it off the glass into the neutral zone, or dump it in when no one was forechecking, and basically give away possession. When Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner return they should be even better at holding onto the puck.
     
  • They got engaged. Joenssu and David Perron didn't back down in scrums. Anton Belov got slashed after the play, and rather than just stand there or skate away he looked straight in the eyes of Andrew Ladd and skated towards him. For far too long we've seen players just back down, and once you do that the other team will keep trying to take advantage of you. Every inch of the ice matters and I thought the Oilers did a much better job of showing a willingness to fight for space.
     
  • Hemsky was flying. I've long been a fan of his ability and skill, so I'm not surprised to see him play like this. He is still one of the few Oilers who can beat defenders one-on-one. It sure would be nice to see him shoot like that more often. His speed makes him dangerous and having him on the PK kept him in the game.
     
  • I understand Smyth will look slow playing with Hall and Hemsky, almost every player would. Smyth was average last night. At times he tried to hard to get the puck to Hall, and then he made some stellar plays like the great pass to Arcobello with a minute remaining. Arcobello couldn't finish. Smyth won't play every shift with Hall and Hemsky, and that makes sense.
     
  • I don't see how anyone couldn't have felt great for Luke Gazdic last night. He scores a goal in his first NHL shift. Skilled players like Mario Lemieux do that, not sluggers like Gazdic, but there he was celebrating 2:21 into his first game. One of the best parts of sports is watching those moments. For good measure he got the best of Chris Thorburn in a fight later on, but he'll never forget that memorable first NHL shift.
     
  • Nail Yakupov never seemed to get in the game. His linemates were flying, so the suggestion that he has to play with Hall is bogus to me. Joensuu and Gordon were around the puck, but I never saw Yakupov match their intensity last night. Eakins did move him to Hall's left wing for a few shifts, but that didn't jumpstart his game. Yakupov plays best when he's mixing it up, but I didn't see that last night. I expect he'll be better in Vancouver.
     
  • Overall I thought the Oilers outplayed the Jets, but some costly turnovers and subpar goaltending cost them. If they can shore up those areas they will be competitive most nights. I really liked their new swarm defence, but most importantly I liked how they didn't just give away possession of the puck by dumping it out of the D zone, or into the offensive zone. They looked to make a direct pass first, and only as a last resort would they dump it out or in. I love this strategy.

THE CAPTAIN SPEAKS

Yesterday on my radio show, I asked Andrew Ference about playing his first game as an Oilers, wearing the "C" and how he will lead his new team.

Gregor: When you signed with the Oilers you tweeted out a picture (above) of you in an Oilers jersey. Like most young boys in Edmonton, you dreamt about being an Oiler. Did you ever think about being the captain? 

Ference: I don’t know if I ever let my imagination run that wild on the ice out back. I definitely scored a couple of game seven winners out on the tennis court, but being captain never really crossed my mind. That was obviously a great honour, but as I’ve said a few times, and it’s not a cliché, that it (being captain) is trumped just by the chance to put on that jersey tonight. It’s a special thing, I come back and I have a lot of family here that are obviously very excited for me to be back here in town and for myself, this is just a great thing.

I was in this locker room before it looked this nice. I got to hang around guys like [Mark] Messier and [Petr] Klima and just be exposed to that so young and attend so many great games in this rink. For it to all come together now, at this point in my career, I can be fully aware of how lucky that is as a player.

Jason Gregor: You’ve had a lot of season openers, is it important that guys have the enthusiasm for a home opener similar to the excitement you had when you were seven, eight or nine years old and getting ready for that first game?

Ference: Even further than that, it’s important as a hockey player to be excited for all of the games. It’s easy to get yourself up for these ones, or your first playoff game or the big rivalry game, but the next step is realizing how privileged you are to be on the NHL ice every night, it is. I think that it’s easier to understand that the further you get on in your career and not take it for granted. As you see friends and other teammates what they go through and sometimes injuries or sudden retirements or being forced out of the game, suddenly you start to realize how fortunate you are. Obviously you work your ass off to get here, but there is a lot of other stuff that goes into it. Home opener is easy, it’s a blast for everybody, but to continue on and to realize the privilege every night of being in the NHL is what we are trying to achieve.

Gregor: I watched your feature with Ryan Rishaug and you talked a lot about doing more than just being a hockey player. Your younger teammates are coming in at a time when the fans are going to love those guys. Can you pass on that belief to be more than just a player and ensure that not only are they great players, but they become involved in the community?

Ference: I think that living by example is the best way that you can do that. I’ve always believed that you can’t force people into situations and you can’t just sit there and tell someone how they should be. It doesn’t work. People have to be their own people and they learn and they acquire a way of life; they don’t have it forced upon them.

I think that it’s good to lead by example and to show guys this is what you can do, this is what is out there and this is how you can enrich your life by doing it. I think that guys pick up on that and they see that. I think that is an important thing for older guys on the team to do; they lead by example because people will follow and people will emulate what you do.

It’s important for me to be open about it, share with guy and show guys and include them as much as they want to be included, but forcing it on people doesn’t work. I think that hockey players, you’ve been around locker rooms enough, they’re good guys. They really are. I think that sometimes in certain environments you just get locked into a certain way of life just because that is what everyone else is doing. If the leadership dictated that everyone is private and a bit of a recluse, and not really being out there, then that is what the young guys will follow and do. I’m sure that just by example a lot of guys will hopefully start to open up.

Gregor: All of the young players have talked openly about how they are sick of losing. How can you help them become winners?

Ference: I think that everybody has to be their own harshest critic and when you can reach a level where you can hold yourself accountable before the coach has to, before your teammate has to, that’s when you can really start to make progress. If I look at the really good players that I’ve played with, the coach is never on top of them, because he doesn’t have to be. They’re there before anyone else, correcting what needs to be corrected, working on what has to be worked on and so that’s what really good players do.

Talking about it and all is very easy. It’s very easy to say that you’re sick of losing; the next step is proving it night in and night out. It’s a lot of hard work. There are clear examples throughout the league of the most respected guys that are very skilled, but work their asses off. You look at [Sidney] Crosby, you look at [Pavel] Datsyuk, you look at a guy like [Patrice] Bergeron those guys have enough skill to just float through the games and make a lot of money and have a lot of points and be famous. But they choose to put in that extra effort to be winners and to be known as winners. That’s the difference, that’s the choice.

It almost goes back to the last question; you can’t force a player to change, you can’t force them to work as hard as they can. That has to be a personal decision that everyone makes, and everyone chooses to commit themselves.

If they do, there are clear examples of not only the respect that you earn throughout the league, but the hardware that you’ll get to have fun with in the summer.
 

WRAP UP... 

That type of experience and honesty is why Ference was named captain. He'll be a great role model for the young player, and I believe how he conducts himself on and off the ice will have a positive impact on the young stars.

It will be intriguing to watch the players morph from saying they hate losing to showing that they despise it.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR   

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Nick
October 02 2013, 10:00AM
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One thing that stood out in last nights game is just how small Andrew Ference is. There were numerous occasions last night were he was easily pushed aside by big forwards. Heck he was even just swatted away by Frolik on the winning goal. Easy to be a solid defender in Boston when you are playing with huge forwards and other defense partners but him with J.Schultz is going to be a long year.

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#2 Cynic
October 02 2013, 02:44PM
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Gergor's getting pwned on those tweets. The old-school "let the players decide" is ante-diluvian (to be generous). If the NHL doesn't make strides against fighting, lawyers will. Only a matter of time. Even the mightiest sports league in the world had to bend on safety issues. A fourth-rate shinny league is not immune to tort law.

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#3 Coco crisp
October 02 2013, 10:56AM
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How bad did Petry look last night? Wow. He has actually gotten softer then last season. A complete yard sale in our own end. Sigh.

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#4 war
October 02 2013, 10:01AM
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I loved joensuu,hes a beast and perron was awesome as well,the oilers played better than ive seen in a while(other than halls giveaways)I was impressed with the team.however Dubnyk is an issue and cost us 2 points last night,if we had any of the other 29 starting goalies in the league we would have won that game,dubey has had enough of a chance it is time to get a goalie that can lead us to the playoffs where we will never get with dubey,I am not sure what the answer is but think this could be a very long season.

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#5 nick
October 02 2013, 11:14AM
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@Jason Gregor

Not writing him off he is a pretty solid defenseman just very undersized playing against big forwards. No need to make excuses for Ference on the winning goal that was clearly his man wide open in front of the net. First game so it will get better

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#6 Tom
October 02 2013, 02:22PM
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borisnikov wrote:

Really?
At even strength Petry was on the ice for 23 shot attempts for and 14 against.
If you ignore the attempts for, you could come to your conclusion, but why would you do that?
I'm sure your response will make me ask why I bother posting this.

Petry was the second worst player on the ice last night. Shot differential is a reflection of more then just one player on the ice. Petry looked out of position and confused on almost every play. Package him with Dubbey and a prospect and get a top goalie in. I love Dubnyk but at some point, now, he must be held accountable for games like this. It was embarrassing.

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#7 Patrick Miranda
October 02 2013, 06:21PM
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Where is the accountability on Hall -- I see all this about Dubnyk, but everyone is tip-toeing around Hall.

He had his usual game, trying to do too much, forcing the play and causing turnovers. Same as with Team Canada when he got benched, same as last year when he didn't. Only difference was that last night two of his turnovers resulted in goals against.

As bad as Dubnyk was last night we still would have won 4-3 had Hall not turned the puck over.

Fine, he is a so-called superstar so he gets different treatment. But how on Gods Green Earth do you justify double shifting him and sitting Yakupov (played only 2 mins in the second) when he turns it over like he did.

It was so obvious on the first one that he was out of gas taking on three defenders, yet he got rewarded with double time....

Eakins, what was this accountability thing you spoke of??? As far as I'm concerned, Ference would have earned my respect that much more if he labelled Hall by name rather than politely speaking in riddles while clearly describing Hall's play last night.

And no one in the media will touch him, yet all believe he should be shortlisted for the Olympics ... go figure.

He is a quality player, but should leave his ego aside and show more compete with his head and less with his braun.

IMO.

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#8 Spydyr
October 02 2013, 10:18AM
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Dubnyk and consistency have never gone together.Never,unless it is consistently giving up weak goals.

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#9 Taylor Gang
October 02 2013, 10:02AM
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Rob... wrote:

"The best change was the Oilers willingness not to just dump the puck out and lose possession. Often they would turn back, or pass it deep into their own zone. There are certain times you dump and chase, but too often in previous years the Oilers would just hammer it off the glass into the neutral zone, or dump it in when no one was forechecking, and basically give away possession. When Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner return they should be even better at holding onto the puck."

I love this change in gameplay.

Yes yes I definitely noticed that. It was like sitting on a lead that we never had.

On an unrelated note: I could be the biggest Taylor Hall fan out there, but he's gotta stop with the dekes. Every once in a while is fine but he's one of the fastest players in the NHL!!! Just skate past those flat footed defensemen! Also smarter decisions with the puck need to be made with him. The play died on his stick too many times to count. I'll cut him some slack though for playing out of position and playing with a scrub in Smyth.

Dubnyk... Where to start? Awful awful play last night; I had a gut feeling that he'd choke after his meltdown against San Jose last home opener. Yet he still wonders why we search for a starting goalie... Nothing more to say other than he singlehandedly lost the game for Edmonton.

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#10 Dave
October 02 2013, 09:55AM
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Yes compete level and grit was up. Taylor Hall's effectiveness was down. Do they need a new center ASAP ?

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#11 Quicksilver ballet
October 02 2013, 10:15AM
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[Ference quote] Talking about it and all is very easy. It’s very easy to say that you’re sick of losing; the next step is proving it night in and night out. It’s a lot of hard work. There are clear examples throughout the league of the most respected guys that are very skilled, but work their asses off. You look at [Sidney] Crosby, you look at [Pavel] Datsyuk, you look at a guy like [Patrice] Bergeron those guys have enough skill to just float through the games and make a lot of money and have a lot of points and be famous. But they choose to put in that extra effort to be winners and to be known as winners. That’s the difference, that’s the choice.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Have to wonder how Hemskys career would've gone, had he been drafted into an organization where the bar wasn't set so low. Great point by Andrew.

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#12 spliff
October 02 2013, 11:07AM
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I don't know the Winnipeg goalies stats from last year, maybe they are worse then Duby's. However, when the game was on the line last night, their goalie made the stops.

I don't know why people are giving mediocre players like Dubnyk a break. The Oilers have the longest non-playoff streak in the league, despite having the money and resources many teams can only dream about. If they hope to not have an eighth straight year of non-playoff hockey, they need to beat the beatable teams, like the Jets. Duby MUST make the routine saves, especially when the game is in the balance. Good teams don't put up with this mediocrity, thats why they are good teams, and consistently make the playoffs. Good management would have dealt with this by now. MacT new this, (Tambelli was either drunk for stupid - maybe both), and therefore tried to get us a real goalie before the year started. If the Oil don't make the playoffs soon, players like Taylor Hall or going to get worried that they are pissing away their careers here, and will ask to be traded.

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#13 rickithebear
October 02 2013, 06:36PM
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When you look at the best goalies They only have 5-9 4+ goal games in a season. The best the last 2 years is lundquist. @10% Dubnyk since taking over as the Starter role is 12% 3rd in the game. if he plays 58 games he has 6 more games of 4+ goals. before goes above 12%. which will still be 3rd best in the game.

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#14 #ThereGoesTheOilers
October 02 2013, 11:48AM
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Well, we can complain about Petry, but at least we know what we see is what we get with Smid.

Geeze, just scare Scheifele, you're not trying to kill him...

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#15 hockeycrazed
October 02 2013, 11:57AM
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Things I noticed from last night's game : 1) Defenceman still do not take the bodies to the boards enough times, attemting to stick check too often. 2) Too much short passes and back passes in their own end. 3) Should try to shoot more on net, especially during power plays

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#16 madjam
October 02 2013, 05:45PM
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For 35 minutes we looked like a team and a contender , the last 25 minutes we started to look like last few seasons - choking/sputtering and finding ways to lose . We need to gel early this season , something we have not seen for many a season , but looks like we might this year . Too bad Dubbie had such a poor game , we deserved better than a loss from how rest of team played . Mistakes are prevalent early season for all teams , but they will diminish more as we gel as a team . If not , then we might have to re-evaluate the building process put in place by Tams . Maybe the young stars are not quite what we hoped they'd be ?

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#17 Harry
October 02 2013, 06:48PM
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Ryan Smyth was average!! Wow you have to be joking. It seemed Smyth couldnt step on the ice without turning the puck over or falling. He played over 17min, about 12min too much.

Other than Dubbie he was the worst player on the ice

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#18 madjam
October 03 2013, 08:46AM
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What you think you see , you may not be getting . Joensuu and Gordon given additional shifts at expense of Arcobellos line . Coach thinks he made a mistake by not giving Joensuu more time . Really ? Then how come both Joensuu and Gordon were our two worst forwards minus players (-2) for the night ? Players may have learning curves , but I think you can add that to coach as well , until he garners positive results . No free rides without results - lets see you and MacT. justify why/how your better than Tams and Kreuger . Earn our respect in other words .

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#19 Rob...
October 02 2013, 12:30PM
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Can not believe the twitter exchange between Adam Proteau, Brownlee and Gregor. You've got to love extremists who think that if you don't get behind their point of view that they can somehow 'win' a debate by throwing out ridiculous labels that allow them to marginalize their opposition and thus make further discussion irrelevant. Basically the pseudo-intellectual's form of 'La-la-la, I can't hear you!'. ~What a misandrous, anti-hetero buffoon Adam is.

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#20 2004Z06
October 02 2013, 02:32PM
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snaaxx wrote:

Totally agree. I think the biggest plus when rnh and gagner gets back will be the move by Hall to lw and smytty to the pressbox where he belongs. How Smyth was the sixth man on the ice when Dubnyk was pulled was beyond me.

Because until recently he was the only oiler to go to the net! Not a Smitty fan either, but come on guys it was the first game. Give it a rest.

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#21 madjam
October 02 2013, 10:18AM
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The culture of our club is they prefer to play river hockey as much as possible and avoid the physical game . They are getting better at the physical game , but they are a long ways away from being proficient at it . Our young stars probably/may never be very proficient at it either . The periphery game comes much more natural to them . If we ever make the playoffs , maybe that might change but that's a lot of skilled young stars to have do it in mass . Can that culture be changed , accepted and successful with our young stars ? Maybe not , if last nite was a prelude ?

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#23 Lochenzo
October 02 2013, 10:58AM
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The Cujo effect! Cujo was a fantastic goalie who always seemed at his best when he faced a ton of shots. Edmonton, Toronto, where getting outshot was not atypical, Cujo was an elite goalie. But when Cujo went to Detroit, where he didn't see as much rubber, Cujo had a tough time adjusting to having to only make the occasional save.

Maybe DD needs some time to adjust to not getting blitzed every night. Staying sharp while not seeing as much rubber as you're accustomed to his hard for some guys.

And yes, I am trying very hard to defend Dubnyk.

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#24 denis
October 02 2013, 11:17AM
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smyth was average? what game are you watching buddy

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#25 2004Z06
October 02 2013, 02:23PM
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@borisnikov

I think he was referring to Petry's lack of physicality. Last night a jet skated around him with the puck and drove the net. Petry had the inside line and literally just had to lean on the guy to force him to the corner. Instead used his stick unsuccessfully to try the poke check.

Petry doesn't need to try and crush guys, but he is a big guy and needs to use his size more often.

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#26 coco crisp
October 02 2013, 10:02PM
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borisnikov wrote:

Really?
At even strength Petry was on the ice for 23 shot attempts for and 14 against.
If you ignore the attempts for, you could come to your conclusion, but why would you do that?
I'm sure your response will make me ask why I bother posting this.

No... I am stating how flat out unphysical Petry is and how poor he was in the defensive end. He could be a phenomenal defensmen if he wasn't so shy to actually hit somebody. Every year he looks worse.

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#27 SuntanOil
October 02 2013, 10:36AM
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Only three comments. Firstly I find it humorous how many are jumping all over Hall for the turnovers. I doubt most would know they happened if the broadcast team didn't seem to take delight in highlighting every mistake he made out there. Yeah, he made a few, but if our goalie is not having a bad night, those pucks don't go in and Taylor can learn to correct those mistakes before they hurt the team. I was almost surprised CBC didn't try to pin the fifth goal on him because he was leaning the wrong way on the bench or something.

Riding the theme of the "Taylor Hall as hot garbage" they were espousing all night they couldn't stop gushing about Trouba for half a second to point out that his head-hunting on Hall was wreckless and dangerous, and even though he didn't connect he was obviously targeting Hall's head and also left his feet. In short, this is exactly the kind of hit the league is trying to remove from the game and even though it (fortunately) didn't connect shouldn't matter. Does anyone know if the Oilers are asking the league to look at this?

Finally. the CBC homerism was out in full force last night, stressing that the Oilers and Jets both need work (they do), but prepping the parade route for the Leafs after their feckless effort. Man I hate the Mothercorp

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#29 snaaxx
October 02 2013, 12:15PM
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Dman wrote:

No doubt. I would hate to see what below average would look like

Totally agree. I think the biggest plus when rnh and gagner gets back will be the move by Hall to lw and smytty to the pressbox where he belongs. How Smyth was the sixth man on the ice when Dubnyk was pulled was beyond me.

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#30 Will
October 02 2013, 01:43PM
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Hmmm, I'm not sure what game you were watching but Yak looked pretty good last night. Especially on the power play. I thought he created a ton of havoc getting pucks on net as Joensu was there in front of it.

I was really disappointed last night with Dubnyk and some of the goals he let in. I was also stunned when J schultz and Jeff Petry missed gaping open cages.

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#31 Cynic
October 02 2013, 02:39PM
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"You've got to love extremists who think that ... they can somehow 'win' a debate by throwing out ridiculous labels that allow them to marginalize their opposition ... What a misandrous, anti-hetero buffoon Adam is."

Next time you move, you should look for a place with mirrors.

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#32 nina russo
October 02 2013, 11:57PM
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china town man wrote:

Losing the first game isn't a bad thing At least now the oilers are not to high on them selves,today therefore the coach has more say then the player's Agree to disagree ? Go oilers go !!! Vancouver off we go

That was two stinkers in a row ....

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#33 The_CWD_GarbageMan
October 03 2013, 08:11AM
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Is Jesse Joensuu the Dustin Penner we always wanted?

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#34 Panda
October 03 2013, 10:56AM
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I am a diehard Oilers fan, but I have to say I am happy we lost.

In recent years, we would win the opening night. To make it worse, for a few years, we have a winning streak going right off the bat. Of course, as a fan, I want to see us win EVERY GAME. 82-0 is a dream for any fan, but we all know it is impossible. The Oilers have so many faults and still many holes to fill, and even this season, there are still question marks all over the ice for our team. We have matured and became a way better team verses recent years, and a few acquisition like Joensuu and Gazdic has made our team tougher, but it isn't enough to make us a contender or a power house. In recent years, we would win our opener, hopes up for fans, and the team is confident and believe they can go far. A few games later, the luck runs out, the bounces go the other way and boom! we go on a losing streak. The reason why I said I am glad we lost right off the bat, is so that our team can address our problems early. In recent years, when you win the opener and the few games afterwards, you DO NOT want to change anything. You want to keep playing the way you did, or else people will question why you made changes when everything is going your way. I think we are better off to lose right off the bat, and it is a bonus to have 4 days off, and this 3 games in 9 days schedule will help us address all the problems we need to fix before the schedule get more hectic! I am sure in a few years, when we finally become a powerful winning team, we can then start the season with a win and on a good note……

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#35 nick
October 03 2013, 01:43PM
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@Cynic

Love when you guys start citing stats like this. Yes he was in the finals 2 of the last 3 years but Dustin Penner has won 2 Stanley Cups also. My point being they were parts and small parts of very good teams. Ference played a lot of minutes because the Bruins other top defencemen were hurt. He was not a top 4 guy. The media is looking at this guy like he is Chris Pronger II, he is not. I guess based on your dribblings the Oilers should go out and sign Dustin Penner

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#36 Rob...
October 02 2013, 09:29AM
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"The best change was the Oilers willingness not to just dump the puck out and lose possession. Often they would turn back, or pass it deep into their own zone. There are certain times you dump and chase, but too often in previous years the Oilers would just hammer it off the glass into the neutral zone, or dump it in when no one was forechecking, and basically give away possession. When Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner return they should be even better at holding onto the puck."

I love this change in gameplay.

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#37 2004Z06
October 02 2013, 09:57AM
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When was the last time we said these things about the OIL?

Oilers outshot the opposition.

Oilers led the puck possession battle.

A player not named Smid or Brown stuck up for a teammate.

An player not named Brown or Smid mucked it up after a whistle instead of skating to the bench and leaving their teammate to be mauled by 3 or 4 of the oppositions players.

An Oiler player stuck up for themselves and pushed back when leaned on.

These are all little victories and if it continues, the Oilers will earn back a little respect in this league.

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#38 Batfink
October 02 2013, 10:33AM
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Eager on waivers....

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#39 Spydyr
October 02 2013, 10:34AM
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Batfink wrote:

Eager on waivers....

The kid Gazdic took his job last night

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#40 BUCK75
October 02 2013, 10:48AM
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Joensuu is a beauty. Finally we have a pesky, 3rd line guy with size.

Bottom line is that we have the talent to play in games where we need 6 to win, but we won't win many of them. It was a fun game to watch, but I wish we could have found a way to win it.

The national anthem brought back a lot of memories of 2006; I even had goosebumps. See you in the play-off's Paul!

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#41 borisnikov
October 02 2013, 11:44AM
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Coco crisp wrote:

How bad did Petry look last night? Wow. He has actually gotten softer then last season. A complete yard sale in our own end. Sigh.

Really?
At even strength Petry was on the ice for 23 shot attempts for and 14 against.
If you ignore the attempts for, you could come to your conclusion, but why would you do that?
I'm sure your response will make me ask why I bother posting this.

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#42 Dman
October 02 2013, 11:57AM
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denis wrote:

smyth was average? what game are you watching buddy

No doubt. I would hate to see what below average would look like

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#43 G Money
October 02 2013, 12:07PM
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Lochenzo wrote:

The Cujo effect! Cujo was a fantastic goalie who always seemed at his best when he faced a ton of shots. Edmonton, Toronto, where getting outshot was not atypical, Cujo was an elite goalie. But when Cujo went to Detroit, where he didn't see as much rubber, Cujo had a tough time adjusting to having to only make the occasional save.

Maybe DD needs some time to adjust to not getting blitzed every night. Staying sharp while not seeing as much rubber as you're accustomed to his hard for some guys.

And yes, I am trying very hard to defend Dubnyk.

Not sure why you need to defend Dubnyk in this case. He was terrible last night, and I'm sure he'd be the first to admit it. Very few teams are going to win when a goalie puts up a .821 sv % against mostly mediocre scoring chances.

The point is - every goalie has the occasional bad game. Anyone remember the 4-0 win over Van last year, where the Oilers scored on their first two shots? Schneider was pulled after that, meaning his sv% that night was 0.000. Only the stupid would use that to suggest he is a bad goalie.

Any loss looks worse when its the season opener. Little doubt Dubie will be much better (the three years of games at .915+ deserve ever so slightly a higher weighting than one game).

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#44 Cynic
October 02 2013, 12:55PM
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"One thing that stood out in last nights game is just how small Andrew Ference is. There were numerous occasions last night were he was easily pushed aside by big forwards. Heck he was even just swatted away by Frolik on the winning goal. Easy to be a solid defender in Boston when you are playing with huge forwards and other defense partners but him with J.Schultz is going to be a long year."

Has Oiler fan ever - you know - watched an out-of-market game? The Bruins were only in the Cup finals 2 of the past 3 years. Been on TV a lot lately. It's not like Ference was toiling in obscurity for the Panthers. Or does this city's hockey knowledge all come from reading Matty's dribblings and pouring over Volmann's Sledgehammer Circles?

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#45 Bob Cobb
October 02 2013, 01:21PM
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Oilers played well overall, lost focus and gave the game up, they'll learn and fix that issue. Lots of games left, no need to panic.

CBC was terrible, bush league homerish commentating, if I wanted a dog and pony show I'd watch a dog and pony show. CBC should stick to broadcasting what they know, Coronation Street and curling, and leave real sports, the NHL and NFL, to the professionals at TSN.

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#46 2004Z06
October 02 2013, 02:26PM
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#ThereGoesTheOilers wrote:

Well, we can complain about Petry, but at least we know what we see is what we get with Smid.

Geeze, just scare Scheifele, you're not trying to kill him...

Yeah that hit was pretty bad.

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#47 Oilers Coffey
October 02 2013, 10:19PM
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Dubnyk bad bad bad bad bad game! Smyth was out of gas by the 2nd period, that was obvious; more so than him and Duby say the word "obviously "!!!

Love Ference' compete! Joensuu was very impressive! Yakupov getting benched already, he was clearly disheartened after 64-27-6 were the most dangerous line in the 1St!

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#48 nina russo
October 02 2013, 11:51PM
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SuntanOil wrote:

Only three comments. Firstly I find it humorous how many are jumping all over Hall for the turnovers. I doubt most would know they happened if the broadcast team didn't seem to take delight in highlighting every mistake he made out there. Yeah, he made a few, but if our goalie is not having a bad night, those pucks don't go in and Taylor can learn to correct those mistakes before they hurt the team. I was almost surprised CBC didn't try to pin the fifth goal on him because he was leaning the wrong way on the bench or something.

Riding the theme of the "Taylor Hall as hot garbage" they were espousing all night they couldn't stop gushing about Trouba for half a second to point out that his head-hunting on Hall was wreckless and dangerous, and even though he didn't connect he was obviously targeting Hall's head and also left his feet. In short, this is exactly the kind of hit the league is trying to remove from the game and even though it (fortunately) didn't connect shouldn't matter. Does anyone know if the Oilers are asking the league to look at this?

Finally. the CBC homerism was out in full force last night, stressing that the Oilers and Jets both need work (they do), but prepping the parade route for the Leafs after their feckless effort. Man I hate the Mothercorp

While I completely agree about the CBC and lack of objectivity (re TO), you have to admit this isn't a new criticism of Hall.

Its been three years, yes he is growing, he actually started to pass the puck last year instead of doing it all himself, but he learns by doing, not by watching tape unfortunately, so he commits the same mistakes over and over until he sees a different way of doing things.

There are many coaches (Lindsay Ruff) who don't have patience with that sort of thing. He has to take the responsibility on himself and realize this isn't Jr or the AHL, people will make him pay for his mental lapses at this level.

Its not enough to simply score more for than you let go in the other way, this is the NHL, and its part of being a Pro. Its why Ebs and the Nuge are farther ahead of him developmentally, and why Yak was able to turn around his season last year.

Hall is way better than he is showing. Time for some tough love.

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#49 nina russo
October 03 2013, 12:06AM
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smiliegirl15 wrote:

I was at the preseason game against Winnipeg and to me, Yak wasn't really in the play in that game either. He seemed off and after his non performance last night, I wonder if he's hurt? His sophmore slump? Or is he pouting? Come on Yak! You're better than that!!!

I also loved that Joensuu said, oh no you don't!, when the Jet tried to smash Eberle into the glass with his elbow. Love that Joe-Joe!!!

Yak and Arcobello were benched in the second, because Hall, Joensuu, and Gordon were double shifted.

Yak has decent chemistry with Joensuu, but absolutely none with Gordon. Gordon isnt a puck distributor, plays to North-South. Joensuu can play both styles so fits with Gordon or Yak.

When the Nuge and Gags return, Yak will get a skilled centre to play along side, and Hall will slide down to the three spot and stay with Hemmer.

Yak will lite it up from there, as will Hall and Hemsky as they will be playing against weak opposition.

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#50 Harry
October 03 2013, 09:58PM
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Panda wrote:

I am a diehard Oilers fan, but I have to say I am happy we lost.

In recent years, we would win the opening night. To make it worse, for a few years, we have a winning streak going right off the bat. Of course, as a fan, I want to see us win EVERY GAME. 82-0 is a dream for any fan, but we all know it is impossible. The Oilers have so many faults and still many holes to fill, and even this season, there are still question marks all over the ice for our team. We have matured and became a way better team verses recent years, and a few acquisition like Joensuu and Gazdic has made our team tougher, but it isn't enough to make us a contender or a power house. In recent years, we would win our opener, hopes up for fans, and the team is confident and believe they can go far. A few games later, the luck runs out, the bounces go the other way and boom! we go on a losing streak. The reason why I said I am glad we lost right off the bat, is so that our team can address our problems early. In recent years, when you win the opener and the few games afterwards, you DO NOT want to change anything. You want to keep playing the way you did, or else people will question why you made changes when everything is going your way. I think we are better off to lose right off the bat, and it is a bonus to have 4 days off, and this 3 games in 9 days schedule will help us address all the problems we need to fix before the schedule get more hectic! I am sure in a few years, when we finally become a powerful winning team, we can then start the season with a win and on a good note……

Do you honestly think at this level teams dont work on their shortcomings after a game that they win?

Get real. If Dubnyk were able to shut the door and the Oil won 4-2 or 4-3 im pretty sure Eakins would have adressed their failts just as easily.

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