BIG WIN: JUNIOR OILERS PREVAIL

Robin Brownlee
October 22 2013 08:56PM

If the Edmonton Oilers needed extra motivation to bring it in the final stop of a six-game road swing against the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday, they got some bulletin board material when Montreal's Lars Eller said the visitors to the Bell Centre "play a little bit like a junior team."

"It's hard to say. It can be anything, you know? They play a little bit like a junior team, I think, sometimes," he said when asked what the Canadiens could expect from the Oilers.

"They take a lot risks, a lot of chances. They’re a little all over the place. There’s not a lot of structure always in their game. It can really be anything. You don’t know. I prefer a little more structured game. Then again, I don’t mind high-scoring games, too. Obviously, we’re going to try with their skilled players to limit their chances."

Eller was right about one thing – the Oilers were "a little all over the place in this one. The visitors were, in fact, a lot all over the place as they went from looking like they'd get embarrassed in the first period to scoring four straight goals en route to a 4-3 decision in a game they absolutely had to win.

CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE

Beaten by the Habs 4-1 at Rexall Place Oct. 10, the Oilers looked like they'd be in for an encore in the opening 20 minutes. Outshot and dominated on the dot, they fashioned an about-face in the final 40 minutes to win their second straight on the swing (they won 3-1 in Ottawa) and pack for home with five points from the trip. Gutsy stuff and, yes, all over the place.

Not a great half-dozen, but the Oilers come home in considerably better shape at 3-6-1 than they looked heading into Ottawa with one point from the first four stops. With Taylor Hall (knee) and Ryan Smyth (groin) back in Edmonton, they got it done with goals from Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry and Ryan Jones in front of 29 saves from Devan Dubnyk.

Jones, who coughed up the puck on Brendan Gallagher's goal to make it 2-0 in the first period – I called it a "send-me-to-the-minors-right-now turnover" on Twitter – got the winner when he banged in a loose puck in the crease behind Carey Price. Again, as Eller said, Jones was all over the place.

Hemsky was absolutely terrific, save for failing to end any drama when he hit the post with Montreal's net empty. Mark Arcobello picked up two assists and now has 10 points. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle each had two assists and played maybe their best games of the road trip when coach Dallas Eakins needed them most.

With Hall out for as long as a month, having to play six of their next 10 games on the road and lots of twists and turns to come as fans try to figure out exactly what this team is about, it's probably best not to draw too many conclusions after this win, as big as it was.

All over the place, indeed. Eller was right.

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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#1 Poolanov
October 22 2013, 09:09PM
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Liked Eakins' comment. "Might as well have sent me over a gift basket and a bottle of wine"

regarding the 'junior team' comment

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#2 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
October 22 2013, 09:33PM
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Nice game Oil

1. Petry looked good tonight before the goal. Is it fair to say that he's been one of our best this season? Is it fair to say he's improved every year? I bet of we had a D-corps, he wouldn't have to play 1st pairing minutes, wouldn't get embarrassed by Datsuyk, and we'd all appreciate Petry as a solid developing D-man who's improved every year?

2. Healthy Hemsky is always awesome. I may be unpopular for saying this, but I hope Hemsky spends his whole career with the Oil, including at least 1 ring. I heard him getting props on the radio for sacrificing the body, but IMO, he's always done that. If he's beat-up now, it's because of years of getting gooned in Copper and Blue

3. There's a word for this, but as an oil fan I don't know it. You know, when good teams suffer injuries to their star players, but then someone else is good enough to replace them. What's the word for that again? Death? Decks? johnny DEPP? Whatever, you know what I mean.

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#3 Reality Check to the head
October 22 2013, 09:03PM
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Go figure,

Hemsky playing some of his best hockey in a contract year. Give him credit, he is blocking shots and shooting well.

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#5 MICHAEL
October 22 2013, 09:10PM
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Someone is eating crow tonight. Jones received a reprieve of biblical proportions.Hemsky owns the Bell Center. Someone in Montreal should take notice.

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#7 Mark B
October 23 2013, 08:25AM
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Belov looks like that defenceman we have been looking for, it is taking time for him to get use to the NHL ice size, but he gets better every game. Even Dallas said he did not know much about this guy but every game he uses him more and more. his abilty to get the puck on the net and keep it low is amazing when the forwards get use to it they will start cashing in on more of his rebounds!

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#8 Wäx Män Riley
October 22 2013, 10:16PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

PLAN THE PARADE.

and why haven't the commenters at ON come up with a cutesy, effeminate pet name for Arcobello yet? Arco-poo-poo ? Arcy? Arcsadandy ? Arcs? Arco-BelleoftheBall?

How about...

Arc'eologuy?

Is that name taken yet?

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#9 spliff
October 22 2013, 09:01PM
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I've been feeling very negative about the Oil this year, because I felt this year would be different, and the poor start sucked big time.

However, gritty win today in a tough building. Kudo's to the team and I hope they can build from this. As long as the battle hard the wins will come, and the losses will be easier to stomach.

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#10 75ers
October 22 2013, 10:59PM
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Kinda didn't miss the pouty attitude Hall sometimes brings to the team. I feel like he can be on a "woe is me" train and who wouldn't be on this team sometimes, but I think they looked more like men than young guns tonight and played like a hockey team not like someone owed them something. They eared that one, best team game of the year minus the first period.

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#11 WinterNightSky
October 23 2013, 12:27AM
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** wrote:

Yakupov, Nuge and Ebs were struggling quite a bit on the first period. Then everyone seemed to settled down and began fore ckecking and making better decisions with the puck. All the Arcobello naysayers, where are you now?!?!?!?!?!

We would've said something, but we all had mouthfuls of crow.

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#12 John
October 22 2013, 10:40PM
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Has the Arcobello express to Stanley Avenue left the station yet? If not, I'd like a first class ticket please. 'Bout time the Oilers benefited from a where the f$&@ did that player appear from situation.

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#13 hemi
October 22 2013, 09:45PM
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I always feel so damn good when the Oil beats either habs or the laffs. It is hard for me to describe but I truly hate and always have, these two teams. The nuck getting there as well, due to their ignorant fans. GO OIL GO!

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#14 MessyEH!
October 23 2013, 02:14AM
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Marcobello deserves respect. He took the long hard road. If he can finish the year with 40+ pts. Maintaining his faceoff % and his defensive awareness. The Oilers will have found a real gem.

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#15 YFC Prez
October 22 2013, 11:03PM
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@75ers

That pouty attitude I think cost him the C this season. It's definetly something hall has to work on but that will go away with maturity. I would still prefer a pouty Taylor Hall on the ice than a injured one at home.

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#16 Loweblows
October 22 2013, 09:37PM
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Loweblows wrote:

Loved their physical play tonight-going to bed happy! Oiler domination set to begin!

To the people who trash my post it is obvious you are calgary fans and should get the f@€# off our site-oiler domination set to begin

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#17 **
October 22 2013, 11:56PM
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Yakupov, Nuge and Ebs were struggling quite a bit on the first period. Then everyone seemed to settled down and began fore ckecking and making better decisions with the puck. All the Arcobello naysayers, where are you now?!?!?!?!?!

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#18 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
October 22 2013, 09:40PM
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Forgot the best part of my post... 2-0 Coyotes!!!!

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#19 2004Z06
October 22 2013, 11:01PM
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I said it yesterday and will repeat it. This team will play better without Hall over the next few weeks. Not because Hall isn't a good player, but I think this team starts to gel without him in the room.

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#20 Ari Gold
October 23 2013, 07:38AM
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A few things I noticed:

The Oil looked great protecting their lead. They were composed & even kept the foot on the gass for a while. I don't know about y'all but I have a great feeling of security when I see Perron with the puck. He just doesn't make any bad plays.

Yak looked bloody horrible last night. He just looks lost. Is this because Eakins is forcing them to play a more North American game & Yak can't adjust? Is it moving him to the other wing? Why the hell does he look so directionless? He's soft on the puck, out of position & a giveaway machine!

I'm more impressed with Belov every game. He's providing solid, cheap 3-4D minutes. Sign him, he'll only get better. Plus it gives Yak someone to talk to.

You know who still looks weak although he played a lot better last night? Justin Schultz. I agree that a night in the press box would do this kid good.

Thanks for the win Oilers, though that depleted Mtl lineup should've been destroyed. Keep em coming.

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#21 the dude abides
October 22 2013, 09:22PM
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Nice win! Kudos to Eakins - must have said the right things in the first intermission. Also, Nuge and Hemsky players of the game Hemsky - Gordon/Arcobello - Perron line is a winner (Arc seems to fit in anywhere) Yak not ready for the first line Schultz could use some time in the pressbox, needs more tenacity Smid score = oil win Gritty win gotta like it

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#22 Zarny
October 22 2013, 10:27PM
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Man was that first period fugly. The funniest part of Eller's comments are that they are right. The Oilers do play like a junior team sometimes.

Probably has something to do with Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Yak and Schultz averaging 121 NHL games. That's almost an entire season and a half...almost.

They stole a win. Take the gift and send Lars a gift basket and bottle of wine to say thanks.

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#23 Loweblows
October 22 2013, 09:21PM
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Loved their physical play tonight-going to bed happy! Oiler domination set to begin!

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#24 Naky
October 22 2013, 10:34PM
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To be fair, the Oilers didn't exactly prove Eller wrong after that first period where only Dubnyk showed up to play. The final 10 minutes of the first period were so very, very awful to watch as the team completely hung DD out to dry with not a care in the world or a sense of urgency to be found.

I honestly would have LOVED to be in the dressing room during that first intermission. I'd like to know what was said (and by who) that needed to be said to spur them back into playing hockey again so I can cheer them on harder hoping they'll keep it up.

I'm glad they were able to battle back for the win, but like Smid said in his post game they can't keep playing or starting games like this one if they want to continue winning. The blunt reality is that the Habs were a banged up team just like us who obviously took the team too lightly.

Compete hard and play with some structure every night and nobody in this league's gonna make remarks like Eller did. This win is a start, now continue earning that respect boys.

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#25 dougtheslug
October 22 2013, 11:21PM
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Interesting to see Eberle with a +/- of +7. It must be years since Oilers had a player so far into plus territory.

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#26 Ham_n_Eggs
October 22 2013, 11:38PM
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Good to see Pitlick play well in his first game in the NHL, he skated well and had some good hits on the forecheck. I'm hoping he stays with the big club as he is 10 times the hockey player than anyone on the fourth line.

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#27 Allan
October 23 2013, 03:53AM
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Pitlick brought it tonight and that was great to see. Might his performance inspire some of the 'slow-to-get-it' Barons? He handed some great checks on the Habs D pairings. When a player sets the physical tone from the 3rd/4th line that represents real progress and dare I say it...a little hope?

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#28 Mike Krushelnyski
October 23 2013, 08:38AM
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This team is getting dangerously close to being good 5v5. If the powerplay can actually start functioning the way it should be, that would go a long ways towards righting the ship.

Here's hoping for 6-3-1 in the next 10.

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#29 Ari Gold
October 23 2013, 07:29AM
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Eat $hit Montreal!!! Olé, olé olé olé!!

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#30 K_Mart
October 23 2013, 08:30AM
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Ari Gold wrote:

A few things I noticed:

The Oil looked great protecting their lead. They were composed & even kept the foot on the gass for a while. I don't know about y'all but I have a great feeling of security when I see Perron with the puck. He just doesn't make any bad plays.

Yak looked bloody horrible last night. He just looks lost. Is this because Eakins is forcing them to play a more North American game & Yak can't adjust? Is it moving him to the other wing? Why the hell does he look so directionless? He's soft on the puck, out of position & a giveaway machine!

I'm more impressed with Belov every game. He's providing solid, cheap 3-4D minutes. Sign him, he'll only get better. Plus it gives Yak someone to talk to.

You know who still looks weak although he played a lot better last night? Justin Schultz. I agree that a night in the press box would do this kid good.

Thanks for the win Oilers, though that depleted Mtl lineup should've been destroyed. Keep em coming.

Yak looked bad, but if my memory serves me, Hall looked awful quite often his first season. Yak is only 50 some odd games into his career. He looks bad rather often because he is young, immature, and inexperienced.

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#31 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 23 2013, 08:18AM
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I see no huge multi-player blockbuster of a deal yet. Say it with me now: bull shiiiiiift.

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#32 K_Mart
October 23 2013, 08:34AM
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On a positive note, Belov and Petry look great. One of my basic understandings of the swarm is that the d man always pins his guy when he has the puck... Something I've only noticed Belov and Petry do consistently. Ference and Smid do it fairly often, but Jultz seems to do it less than half the time.

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#33 2004Z06
October 23 2013, 09:29AM
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Rdubb wrote:

I am sick and tired of these guys all playing good in "contract years", and once a deal is signed, a ton of these guys never show up again, you see it all the time on ever single team. To many of these guys will have a good yr like Hemmer, sign a big deal, and then have 3 bad yrs, than a contract yr pops up, and they put up career totals, NUTTS, NUTTS I say... Way too many guys cannot, and don't bring it once these mega deals are signed, that's why contracts SHOULD be limited to 2 or 3 yrs @ most. Make these guys play, it may cost teams in the long run for some guys, but it'd also save teams on many other guys...

That's why contracts should be incentive based and non guaranteed.

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#34 TeeVee
October 22 2013, 10:18PM
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I'd take this Eller kid in a trade in a heartbeat. He's gritty, has great hands, and he sat Smid and a couple others on their asses tonight.

Gryba just about killed him but it must have made him a little stronger.

Ignorant comments aside from him today, I'd send Yak to Habland to be with his buddy in exchange for Eller.

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#35 Spydyr
October 23 2013, 08:34AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I see no huge multi-player blockbuster of a deal yet. Say it with me now: bull shiiiiiift.

Maybe his playstation is broke and he can't get on NHL 13 to complete the trade.

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#36 bdiddy18
October 23 2013, 08:52AM
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DAM YOU ARCOBELLO!!! Could have traded Gagner for help in other areas had we'd known about this performance! LOL

Good problem to have - if Eakins is true to his word about demonstrating compete in order to stay in the lineup THERE IS NO WAY Arcobello should be returned to OKC once healthy bodies come back.

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#37 hockeycrazed
October 22 2013, 09:09PM
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As long as he kept giving up one less than the offence score, I don't mind eating my words about trading him!!!

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#38 Oiler Al
October 22 2013, 09:40PM
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I guess the team didn't read Ellers comment till the end of the first period. Played gritty and turned on the speed in the next two periods, even guys going to the net.

I think key to the game was getting a couple of goals from the backend! Prior to this game D scored only one goal [Petry}.Need to see more of this .

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#39 madjam
October 23 2013, 09:13AM
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Oilers Junior B squad waxes Montreal Midget squad .

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#40 Rambelaya
October 23 2013, 09:46AM
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Duby made some key stops at critical times of the game, not just the first period. People are quick to jump on him when he lets a bad 3rd-period goal in, but everyone's strangely silent when he locks things down. Good for him, that's what the Oil need. Not elite, just solid. Well done.

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#41 dougtheslug
October 22 2013, 11:27PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Interesting to see Eberle with a +/- of +7. It must be years since Oilers had a player so far into plus territory.

Actually, no, if I'd bothered to do a little research I would have seen Horcoff and Potter were both +8 last year. Shows what a meaningless statistic it is, I guess

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#42 Zamboni Driver
October 23 2013, 08:31AM
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Credit where due....I'm not a Hemsky fan (still am not), but he was fantastic yesterday. Best game, quite literally, since '06 I think.

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#43 Darrell
October 23 2013, 02:43AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

PLAN THE PARADE.

and why haven't the commenters at ON come up with a cutesy, effeminate pet name for Arcobello yet? Arco-poo-poo ? Arcy? Arcsadandy ? Arcs? Arco-BelleoftheBall?

Not sure about his nickname but yours is easy you douchebag !

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#44 j
October 23 2013, 08:36AM
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Neal wrote:

Hey Pouzar99, I think you're right, but I'm not sure if they've suddenly got it. Eakins has a team where the 5 young stars have all been able to do what they want their whole lives because they were talented enough to get away with it. So, is this a skillset or DNA? I see a difference between say, Arcobello and Pitlick having to fight and claw their way into the show against the young stars gliding around and doing dangles. Tambellini/Lowe built a team of "talented" players, but who won't pay the price and go to the hard areas they need to in order to score. A good team can have a couple players like that, but 5? I don't know if they can learn or not... I hope so...but can a player change who he is? Will they?

I don't think the kids feel entitled. There are very few kids these days who get picked in the top 20-30 who are true prima donnas. The junior/ development systems just don't allow for it anymore. Our kids have had 3-4 coaches depending on how long they have been with us. They haven't had any consistent mentorship from our veterans. The end result is they haven't developed as quickly in some respects as they would have in Detroit or Chicago. That said, they have probably honed other aspects of their game more quickly. A good comparable may be Seguin - he plays a more structured game than Hall but hasn't broken out offensively given the system/ veteran team he played for. Which is better? Depends on the team. I'd rather have a complete player and I think Eakins has the potential to get our kids to that point.

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#45 lolhockey
October 23 2013, 12:28PM
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Biggest credit needs to go to Dubnyk. He made big saves throughout the game but especially during the first period when the majority of his team looked like garbage. If he didn't play the way he did in the first, it would've been at least 4-0 for Montreal and there would've been no way the Oilers could come back from that.

I've said it before, if your team scores 4 goals, it's the goalies responsibility to make sure that's enough. Dubnyk did that.

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#46 uks ya!
October 22 2013, 09:30PM
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the dude abides wrote:

Nice win! Kudos to Eakins - must have said the right things in the first intermission. Also, Nuge and Hemsky players of the game Hemsky - Gordon/Arcobello - Perron line is a winner (Arc seems to fit in anywhere) Yak not ready for the first line Schultz could use some time in the pressbox, needs more tenacity Smid score = oil win Gritty win gotta like it

old Shultz?... yes!

young Shultz?...you must be buzzed!

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#47 somali G
October 22 2013, 09:37PM
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Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe! wrote:

Nice game Oil

1. Petry looked good tonight before the goal. Is it fair to say that he's been one of our best this season? Is it fair to say he's improved every year? I bet of we had a D-corps, he wouldn't have to play 1st pairing minutes, wouldn't get embarrassed by Datsuyk, and we'd all appreciate Petry as a solid developing D-man who's improved every year?

2. Healthy Hemsky is always awesome. I may be unpopular for saying this, but I hope Hemsky spends his whole career with the Oil, including at least 1 ring. I heard him getting props on the radio for sacrificing the body, but IMO, he's always done that. If he's beat-up now, it's because of years of getting gooned in Copper and Blue

3. There's a word for this, but as an oil fan I don't know it. You know, when good teams suffer injuries to their star players, but then someone else is good enough to replace them. What's the word for that again? Death? Decks? johnny DEPP? Whatever, you know what I mean.

Respekk!!

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#48 oilabroad
October 23 2013, 07:26AM
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Robin, I have to admit nothing Eller said is really wrong per se (other than he shouldnt have said it), this team is a bit of mess... shouldnt this be an indictment of the system Eakins is trying to implement??

Secondly, I have become a fan of Arco, what would you do when Gagner comes back? I dont think I could take Arco off that line, he is superior in both faceoffs and in his own zone. Is it time to move Gagner to the wing?

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#49 j
October 23 2013, 08:38AM
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'Thanks for the win Oilers, though that depleted Mtl lineup should've been destroyed.'

Didn't we have a depleted lineup as well? Depth baby, depth.

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#50 uks ya!
October 22 2013, 08:59PM
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lol good stuff!

hey Brownlee **POUND IT** :)

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