Oilers top line hits a big bump in the Road

Jason Strudwick
October 25 2013 09:32AM

 

The Nuge, Yak and Ebs trio were taught a pretty stiff lesson last night by the Washington Capitals top line. Ovie and his two line mates outscored the Oilers top line and that was the difference in the game.

Nuge's line was minus four on the night. That really hurt the Oilers. For the most part that line was pretty solid but if they are going to match up against the top lines of the league they must recognize how dangerous these lines can be. Let’s take a look at the goals they were on for.

The first goal was a defensive zone face off to the left of Dubnyk. Nuge wins the draw but the puck ends up going right back to Ovie who is set up for the one timer in the slot. As Yakupov goes out to his point man it is his job to make sure Ovie doesn't get the puck. Yakupov goes behind Ovie and BOOM, one to nothing.

On the second goal I fault the pair of defencemen for the Oilers more than Nuge's line. The pairing of Anton Belov and Justin Sschultz need to box out at the net so that Dubnyk can see the shot. I will give a pass to Nuge's line.

On the third goal this line gets outmuscled by the Caps’ top line. It is a longer shift for the Oilers trio but those shifts happen and you need to be able to handle it. In the end Backstrom outmuscles Nuge for position in front of the net. He gets a perfect pass and it is an easy redirect for him with Nuge on the wrong side of his man. Nuge needs to battle to get better body position.

For their fourth minus of the night, Eberle takes a risk at the Caps blue line that doesn't work, it becomes a turnover. It is a two on two that isn't played well by the Oilers d pairing. It ends badly for the Oilers when Chimera gets a breakaway and scores.

Three of the four goals last night are a result of a direction action by each member of the Oilers top line. It takes only a split second for things to go badly and result in a goal.

Head coach Eakins can chalk this up to a rough night for this trio. Maybe it won't happen again, maybe. But at this point in this teams development these three need to see how razor thin the margin for victory is every night in the NHL.

If you take away these four goals a case can be made that they played a pretty good game. For the most part when out against the Caps top line they were able to contain them and even generate some chances and good offensive zone time. But you can't look at the game that way. If this trio is going to be playing against the top lines around the league they cannot be outscored. They need to win this battle within the game.

Each shift against top lines in the NHL is important. They can seemly be sleeping through a game and then explode for a quick goal out of nowhere. I remember playing against Brett Hull and thinking "wow this guy isn't that hard to play against?" He never really hit or forechecked. He would just hang around and then just when you thought he was totally asleep he would get a pass in the slot and score. He would push the snooze button and go back to sleep knowing he had just scored the winning goal.

These are lessons that can only be learned by playing the game. Someday Oilers fan should hope these young players are the ones doing the teaching.

The Power Play

The Oilers PP hasn't been clicking so far this season. I think they look to make one too many passes instead of just firing the puck at the net with traffic in front. There is no doubt that Eakins can put an extremely talented group on the ice for both PP groups but so can the Washington Capitals.

I was very impressed with the Caps PP last night. They are currently leading the league in percentage. Although they didn't score last night with the man advantage it is obvious why they have been successful.

Their goal is to get pucks to the net. They spend very little time dusting the puck off on the side way or the corner. They move the puck quickly with the purpose of getting the puck to the point. Once the puck is moving high, the low players attack the front of the net.

This isn't rocket science. The Caps have just as much skill as the Oilers do on their PP but they keep it much simpler.

Pitlick

I was part of the Oilers for his first camp and boy did he impress me. He has three things I like in forwards... size, a hard shot and good skating. I figured it would only be a matter of time until he was playing in the NHL.

So far his career path has gone slower than I expected. He is up with the team now and getting a chance to make an impression. In the games he has played he has been solid, doing what I expected from him. He is keeping the game simple by getting the puck out on the wall, dumping it in and getting in on the forecheck. These are all areas the Oilers need their bottom to lines to do.

Pitlick has been pretty good but I think he needs to add one more element to his game that could be the difference between his being a long term NHL’er and not. He needs to bring more edge and attitude to his game. Be a little cockier, chirpier and get underneath the other teams skin like a Brad Marchand or David Perron. If he can do this he NHL career path might be back on track.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#1 Zarny
October 25 2013, 10:59AM
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Yak-Nuge-Eberle

Average NHL experience - 125 games.

Not surprising they struggle against equally skilled players with considerably more experience.

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#2 Travis Sarvas
October 25 2013, 10:19AM
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Nuge and Ebs essentially played short-handed all night trying to cover for Yak. That's on Eakins to make the adjustment to get a defensively responsible winger on that line if he intends to go power vs. power.

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#3 Ari Gold
October 25 2013, 10:18AM
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I don't think I'd have been disappointed watching last night's game, had I watched. The Oil have been playing terribly against mediocre teams, true. Though watching them get outclassed by a great team, that I don't mind. As long as it's treated as a learning experience.

Nuge has a great hockey IQ, I hope he took notes from Backstrom.

Lose, learn, move on, win.

I want progress.

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#4 Todd
October 25 2013, 04:23PM
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"If you take away these four goals a case can be made that they played a pretty good game."

HAHAHaaaaaaaaa.... Oh man, its hard to be an Oilers fan.

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#5 S cottV
October 25 2013, 11:46AM
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A good start was critical for the Oilers last night. Yak - missing his assignment off the faceoff which allowed OV to tee it up, is just plain dumb. It is basic d zone coverage, that he was to first cover off OV and then proceed to cover the point. This stuff is covered in PeeWee hockey for crying out loud. Hard to believe that he presumably forgot this basic, when it involved the most dangerous scorer in the NHL right now. Maybe Yak didnt notice it was OV out there? Scary....

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#6 neal
October 25 2013, 11:25AM
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Everyone can see that Yak is confused and has lost his confidence. Would it be so out of line to let him get it back with the Barons? Wouldn't that be better than sitting upstairs? Even Jones stated that going down and playing 22 min a game did wonders for his confidence. Instead of the big insult, wouldn't it be throwing him a life ring?

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#7 Zarny
October 25 2013, 04:22PM
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SammyD wrote:

Question - Does Katz even want a winning team/cup?

He makes money now for doing little. Oh sure, he goes through the motions like paying to the cap limit and having 48-50 contracts and having a bunch of managers/executive assistants running around. And he uses the Oilers as leverage for getting a new building to make more money.

But he doesn't do alot and still makes money.

Let's say he makes $10 million a year right now. If he has a winning team he makes $20 million. But it's a lot of work and effort to make that 2nd 10 million. So he takes his $10 million and could care less that this losing team affects the fans a lot more than his bottom line.

Just wondering... is it 5:00 yet?

Daryl Katz' net worth is $2.6 billion...with a 'B'.

Billionaires don't buy sports teams to worry about $10 or $20 million. It's about bragging rights. It's about winning.

Out of curiosity what do you expect Katz to do? Pull off a trade? Fund a biomedical experiment that produces power forwards and shutdown D?

The best thing any owner, including Katz, can do is stay out of the way. The last thing the Oilers need is a Jerry Jones of hockey. Hire good people to run your business.

Now whether you think he's done that is an entirely different debate.

IMO...MacT is good. Kevin Lowe...not. Regardless of your opinion it's the right approach.

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#8 Grzegorz Brzeczyszczykiewicz
October 25 2013, 11:51AM
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Another season without playoffs, unless MacT makes some moves and brings someone to play defense. Every time the opposing team enters our zone I cringe thinking that the puck will end up in our net. This team is long way from being able to compete every night and as a fan I am growing less and less patient. It's been four years since we started this re-build, and all that has been delivered by the management is empty promises. When are we going to be able to be proud of our team? Damn it!

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#9 ryan
October 25 2013, 01:08PM
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Relax on yakapov

He has 32 points in 57 games in the NHL

Hall had 42- 65 games played his first year

Eberle had 43 - 69 games played

I think yakapaov will pick up some points over the next game and he will be almost on part with hall and eberle. Relax , this guy has yet to play a full season , and thinki positively he hasn't been hurt yet LOL

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#10 RJ
October 25 2013, 11:33AM
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To me, Yak looks exactly like Dub did in his first couple games. It looks like he is getting beat by the mental side of the game. He's overthinking everything and it's causing his play to look forced. I really hope he can bag one sooner than later to help him get his mojo flowing again.

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#11 They're $hittie
October 25 2013, 10:16AM
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PP is missing Gagner

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#12 Mac962
October 25 2013, 11:01AM
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Its Early in his career , but Yakapov i fear is going to be a bust. Just a gut feeling and watching him and his attitude and basically the i dont care factor starting to show. I hope i am wrong but i dont think so. Lots to learn- he is young i know but......

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#13 2004Z06
October 25 2013, 12:55PM
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The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

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#14 VK63
October 25 2013, 09:56AM
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Last time I checked... home ice advantage included the last change.

~must be the travel~

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#15 jake
October 25 2013, 10:12AM
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"But at this point in this teams development these three need to see how razor thin the margin for victory is every night in the NHL."

So true.

On the flip side of this, the Oil don't make other teams pay for their mistakes. The finish is not there nearly as much. Missing open nets, shooting at goalie's crests and gloves. Boy would a 2008-09 Souray on the point help this team right now to open up space down low, keep teams honest.

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#16 vetinari
October 25 2013, 10:55AM
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It's hard having 1/2 your lineup learning on the job, night after night, without more help from the veterans.

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#17 Serious Gord
October 25 2013, 10:56AM
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Did any of the wsh players get on the plane afterwards nursing injuries/bruises delivered by the oilers?

The oil are a bunch of creampuffs. While torts is a hard ass too an extreme - while in NY he insisted that every player Finish every check. I don't see anything approaching that kind attention to detail regarding physicality by Eakins.

The oil clearly need a physical presence on the 1/2 line one with some real experience and success in the nhl. Trading the likes of pitlick et al would be the way to go, but wait!! MacT has no cap room because he has surplus players - Smyth, gagner and hemsky - making a talent-only trade impossible.

A frustrating situation.

Meanwhile in buffalo according to Elliotte Friedman they have the same issue that the oil has: a single wealthy owner who is a fan of the old days and thus loves the GM Darcy Regher who should have been fired some time ago.

It is no co-inky-dink that both teams are at the bottom of their respective conferences.

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#18 Joilers*
October 25 2013, 12:12PM
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At the game last night...

1) Am I the only one thought the play ended a lot with Yaks?

2) Perhaps J Schultz needs to sit a game or two?

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#19 Tim in Kelowna
October 25 2013, 02:05PM
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I don't understand all this talk about the Oilers power play. The Oilers aren't in last place in the West because their power play isn't clicking, the Oilers are in last place because they let in 4 goals every single night.

Does the power play suck? Yes. But it's the least of our worries. 43 goals against in 11 games is disgraceful. This team needs to learn how to keep the puck out of their own net.

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#21 Rob...
October 25 2013, 10:42AM
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Both Yak and Nick Schultz did not impress me last night. Eberle also seemed to have a bad night but I'll give him a pass because he couldn't rely on Yakupov to do anything but let the play die on his stick.

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#22 Dog Train
October 25 2013, 11:15AM
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Playing that line all night against the league's most dangerous goal scorer was a recipe for disaster right from the start. Eberle might be ready to go power vs. power but I don't think that the Nuge is and Yakupov certainly isn't. That line had some chances but for the most part they just got muscled off the puck and got nothing done. I liked the game of our bottom 6 last night but the guys we rely on to score goals didn't play particularly well with the exception of Perron.

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#23 Serious Gord
October 25 2013, 11:57AM
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Grzegorz Brzeczyszczykiewicz wrote:

Another season without playoffs, unless MacT makes some moves and brings someone to play defense. Every time the opposing team enters our zone I cringe thinking that the puck will end up in our net. This team is long way from being able to compete every night and as a fan I am growing less and less patient. It's been four years since we started this re-build, and all that has been delivered by the management is empty promises. When are we going to be able to be proud of our team? Damn it!

It may already be too late to save this season - as per my comments/data above.

Thus MacT needs to cool his jets and work on more lasting - less risky/costly near-term in vain moves.

That and Katz needs to fire Lowe and this comfort fans be demonstrating that friends/idols will no longer be allowed to impede/impair the march towards a cup. THAT would be the most important move to make.

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#24 TonyT
October 25 2013, 12:32PM
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I think offence is something we'd all like Pitlick to improve on, but if he can turn into a Cal Clutterbuck and get under the opposition's skin by finishing all his checks, that would add an element to this team not seen in sometime.

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#25 Naky
October 25 2013, 04:38PM
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I thought the difference was Holtby was Vezina quality while Dubby, who you could not fault on most of the goals was average.

"who you could not fault on most of the goals"

So you blame the goalie even though you say it wasn't his fault on most of the goals. Even though we have an ex-NHL player breaking down the very basic defensive lapses (that the other team did not commit) that lead to the goals in the first place. Maybe if this team wasn't constantly putting Dubnyk in a position where he has to steal every single game we play, we'd be winning more. Maybe if we put more responsibility on 'kids' who absolutely should be taking more criticism on their play, or lack thereof, they might feel more pressure to change their game.

Don't get me wrong - when (IF, at this rate!) this team starts playing better and we're still losing because of bad goals, I'll join in on the Dubnyk hatefest. But it's really hard for me to focus on him when the rest of the team is playing as irresponsibly as they have been. We've been so lenient on them for the past three years, it's time we start being equally hard on the other kids as people have been on the goaltending this year too.

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#26 Quicksilver ballet
October 25 2013, 07:25PM
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When Katz first mentioned the term rebuild, and the fact continued fan support was required for this to work out in his favor, few knew this would last most of a whole decade. They're still 2 or 3 yrs away from being a playoff team. This is what we deserve when we expect so little.

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#27 spliff
October 25 2013, 09:47PM
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Yesterday I watched the "MacT is the new GM video" again and noticed some interesting things. MacT is the only one of the three-man managerial "dream team" that consistently has his head up and is looking at the media with confidence. Howson has his eyes down and his body language reeks of low confidence. Low also looks un-confident, and when he does address the media he becomes belligerent and aggressive (mentions his 6 rings) and insults the fan base. I'm not a psychologist but I think people that act this was are trying to hide their lack of confidence and know-how.

From an Oilers fan perspective, that video was more frightening then Paranormal Activity.

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#28 Mac962
October 25 2013, 01:31PM
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Everyone including me is frustrated as hell. We are tired of this rebuild going on so long with no real improvement. Yes, we can chalk it up to youth. But we are not the youngest team any longer. Look at The AV's, very similar teams for the most part.

We either be patient for as long is it takes, or one or two of our key pieces of youth will need to go to speed this up for good seasoned help on D or top notch bottom 6 , or bigger talented forwards.

Are you willing to wait for the "KIDS" to develop ? or do you want to win and compete now.

i am tired of being the laughing stock of the NHL, a year or 2 i could handle, no more. Do want needs to be done without mortgaging the entire future. The time for a competitive team is now. No more waiting.

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#29 rob
October 25 2013, 10:19AM
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the hole team has hit a bump!time for Mact to get something BOLD done and help this gosh darn team!!!!(and fans)

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#30 Serious Gord
October 25 2013, 11:21AM
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Elliotte Friedman et al journos have made much of the stat that very few teams in the loser point era make it to the playoffs if they are five or more points out on NOV 1.

I wonder how many teams have made it to the playoffs when they were dead last in their conference on nov1? Has it ever happened?

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#31 srbuhr
October 25 2013, 01:39PM
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@ryan

You haven't watched many games if your saying relax wrt to yak. Last night was possibly his worst game this year. I don't think the top line would have done much worse playing short handed in our defensive zone. Yak was generally out of position and if you watched the game standing still. Painful to watch and has to be frustrating to play with. I would send him to OKC but pretty sure he would simply say no and return to KHL. At this point his trade value isn't very high but when gagner returns he should me traded or demoted.

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#32 Soccer Steve
October 25 2013, 01:53PM
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I sometimes wonder how much influence (mostly negative) we - fans, message board posters, etc. - have on how bad this team performs.

Hearing how guys have rejected Edmonton in the past is starting to make a bit more sense to me now.

Yes, I understand, we are paying their wages and that gives us the right to say whatever we want, but maybe we should collectively take a deep breath for patience.

A large source of positive energy might do some good. It would certainly be better than dissecting every move a 20 year old Russian makes.

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#33 The realist
October 25 2013, 03:04PM
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Do the Oiler have a coach? Eakins is horrible... Puts the 4th line on to respond to the 3rd Capital goal....

I think I could out strategize this guy.

This will go down as the worst Oiler season in history. There are more injuries coming, more poor play coming and more confusion coming.

Also, if they are sooo in shape on their doughnut free diets... why they always so gassed in the 3rd period of games.... Good job Eakins.

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#34 Sidney Frosby
October 25 2013, 03:15PM
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I expect the Oilers to lose the next two games...

You know why? Because they're losers.

Oh and the opposing coaches can coach their teams.

We're like 0/20 on the PP and can't kill a penalty.

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#35 ryan
October 25 2013, 04:14PM
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srbuhr wrote:

You haven't watched many games if your saying relax wrt to yak. Last night was possibly his worst game this year. I don't think the top line would have done much worse playing short handed in our defensive zone. Yak was generally out of position and if you watched the game standing still. Painful to watch and has to be frustrating to play with. I would send him to OKC but pretty sure he would simply say no and return to KHL. At this point his trade value isn't very high but when gagner returns he should me traded or demoted.

Yeah he has no trade value, probably right there with omark. You are an idiot , he was a first overall pick with less then 60 games in the NHL. He has tons of value, he is a kid and its going to take time for him to adjust , he is more raw then any rookie we have had . You have to consider how much junior he missed due to his injury too. You can't tell me you dont remember all the give aways and mistakes hall and eberle had at first???? We should have traded them too right ?? The whole no value thing in a joke too , look what colorado gave up for johnson and he was terrible. Way worse value then yakapov

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#36 Spydyr
October 25 2013, 07:28PM
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Todd wrote:

"If you take away these four goals a case can be made that they played a pretty good game."

HAHAHaaaaaaaaa.... Oh man, its hard to be an Oilers fan.

You beat me too it.

When is the spin going to end.It is plain to see the Oilers are a small team with an average or slightly below average goalie.A below average defence and forwards that don't hit.A coach that has no NHL experience and it shows.A rookie GM and a President of hockey operations that knows what it takes to win.In the eighties.

Man, it is a hard time to be an Oilers fan.

For people that sarcastically say the sky is falling.No it has been falling since 2006.

Lotto team for eight years coming up.

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#37 sizzay
October 25 2013, 09:43AM
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Struds, what would you think of putting Pitlick on a line with Yak and Nuge?

I understand his offensive creativity doesn't warrant a top 6 role but maybe his simplified game is what that top line needs. Yak, Nuge, Hall and Ebs all try and carry the puck in. Nuge did dump it in a few times but still, that top line needs simplification.

Pitlick seems to know how to play a simple game and has been fairly decent in the short sample size playing on the defensive side of the puck. I mean, he has a hard shot (which has been commended since his draft year), he just maybe needs a chance to get it on net. Some guys turn out better NHLers than AHLers. Not that I'd hold my breath.

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#38 fatso
October 25 2013, 12:35PM
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I just purchased gamecenter I'm so close to finding a new team. come on oil

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#39 TigerUnderGlass
October 25 2013, 12:58PM
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Only a defenseman would see a turnover at the far end of the rink causing a 2 on 2 as directly resulting in a goal against.

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#40 terranq
October 25 2013, 02:06PM
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ryan wrote:

Relax on yakapov

He has 32 points in 57 games in the NHL

Hall had 42- 65 games played his first year

Eberle had 43 - 69 games played

I think yakapaov will pick up some points over the next game and he will be almost on part with hall and eberle. Relax , this guy has yet to play a full season , and thinki positively he hasn't been hurt yet LOL

It's not Yak's lack of points that's worrying, it's that he seems lost out on the ice. He's floating around waiting for the puck, and when he gets it he skates straight at the defenders and turns it over.

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#41 S cottV
October 25 2013, 02:07PM
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This whole run and gun, offence first, draft small scorers, swarm defence, and all that goes with it - to me, stems from a throwback to the historic glory years that the present day Oilers have to put far behind them. Hockey is a game of balance and patience, where appropriate risk and reward is woven into systems that players follow. Opposition teams will often beat themselves, if you build reasonable patience into a gameplan and dont do stupid things to beat yourself in the meantime. The Oilers seem to be in a hurry to lose 5 to 4 rather than to evolve into a team that can consistently win 3 to 2. One day in the future with considerable evolution, please bore us from time to time, with some locked down plain and simple wins.

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#42 SammyD
October 25 2013, 04:03PM
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Question - Does Katz even want a winning team/cup?

He makes money now for doing little. Oh sure, he goes through the motions like paying to the cap limit and having 48-50 contracts and having a bunch of managers/executive assistants running around. And he uses the Oilers as leverage for getting a new building to make more money.

But he doesn't do alot and still makes money.

Let's say he makes $10 million a year right now. If he has a winning team he makes $20 million. But it's a lot of work and effort to make that 2nd 10 million. So he takes his $10 million and could care less that this losing team affects the fans a lot more than his bottom line.

Just wondering... is it 5:00 yet?

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#43 SM
October 25 2013, 12:29PM
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I was at the game last night, and even from section 220 you could see that we are too small.

Aside from Dubnyk and Gazdic, every single one of their players are bigger than every single one of our players. The difference was incredibly noticeable from the stands, can't imagine what it is like on the ice. You could see the confidence The Caps had with the puck--they knew they could box out/post up their smaller opponent and therefore were calm and collected with the puck. That's why they scored on pretty much all of their opportunities.

That's also why the Oilers don't score on all of their opportunities; we panic and rush and don't always make the best play because we know the puck will eventually be taken from us from the dude that is on average 25lbs heavier and 4" taller.

Bigger players and bigger teams have confidence with and without the puck. When they have it they know they will keep it, and when they don't have it they know they will be able to get it back.

Ya we played pretty good for the most part last night, but there is no way we would ever win a 7 games series against a team like that. We'd be lucky to win a game.

Our problem is very simple: we are too small to compete with 75% of the teams in this league.

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#44 olderthendirt
October 25 2013, 12:39PM
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Watch the goals. Does Dubnyk go down to fast on 1 and 4. Not to take away from some solid shooting, he might have had one or both. On number 2 I felt Washington got away with a bump, it happens. goal 3 more fun when its our guys play tic tak toe.

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#46 madjam
October 25 2013, 03:36PM
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An 8 year rebuild that's gone nowhere . Took almost 4 years to call it what it was all along . Not the players fault , but you might want to look at whom is responsible for what talent is on this club . This year unlikely different from the last 7 years of futility .

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#47 Smokey
October 25 2013, 04:31PM
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Bigfan wrote:

I am pretty confident Katz wants a winning team. Not everyone would agree, I suppose, but I think he is an owner more for the fun and the winning than the money.

Not as much as he wants to pay for bad management cause their his buddies.

If this team lost 30 mil a year, and stinks as bad as it does. Does Lowe, MacT, Bucky and Smith have jobs. NOPE!

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#48 Serious Gord
October 25 2013, 04:36PM
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Zarny wrote:

Daryl Katz' net worth is $2.6 billion...with a 'B'.

Billionaires don't buy sports teams to worry about $10 or $20 million. It's about bragging rights. It's about winning.

Out of curiosity what do you expect Katz to do? Pull off a trade? Fund a biomedical experiment that produces power forwards and shutdown D?

The best thing any owner, including Katz, can do is stay out of the way. The last thing the Oilers need is a Jerry Jones of hockey. Hire good people to run your business.

Now whether you think he's done that is an entirely different debate.

IMO...MacT is good. Kevin Lowe...not. Regardless of your opinion it's the right approach.

In my experience some of the wealthiest people are the biggest skinflints. There have been plenty of sports team owners like that (bud Selig being one) Katz sure negotiated that way during the arena deal.

And Katz has been very much a hands-on owner - keeping one of his best friends/Heroes as president and several others - MacT et al - on the payroll.

What Katz can do is kick the crony habit and hire a new, veteran but Unaffiliated president to Clean house and hold people to account. And then get out of the way.

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#49 Rheal1
October 25 2013, 04:49PM
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It is too early to panic. Or is it? How many other teams had 4 or 5 super stars on the making in one franchise? Why cant Edmonton turn things around? Pittsburgh did it in less than 4 seasons. Hell Ottawa just did it in two seasons (the jury is still out for this season) while Montreal seems to be back up where they belong. Edmonton are dead last in the west. Again. Every team has injuries. What is going on?

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#50 nick
October 25 2013, 10:31PM
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@Travis Sarvas

You are so correct, I believe that Eakins is getting out coached on a regular basis. He doesn't know how to make adjustments, just too stubborn. He has managed to take our special teams from top 1/3 in the league to dead last. Looks like the bold move McT has made with coaching is stuck in the AHL mode

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