GDB 13.0: Nothing could possiblie go wrong

Jonathan Willis
October 27 2013 09:08AM

Tonight’s game features a tired Oilers team that lost a one-goal game to Phoenix last night against a rested Los Angeles squad that when last seen trounced those same Coyotes by a 7-4 score on Thursday.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Lineup

There has been no official word on lineup changes yet, but up front there are two items of note. First, Tyler Pitlick left on crutches after getting caught awkwardly by a hip check; hopefully any injury is less serious than the knee injury that sidelined him back in January. Second, Anton Lander was scratched by Oklahoma City last night, so it seems probable that he will be in the lineup for tonight’s game (to which I would imagine Linus Omark’s reaction is a mixture of happiness for his good friend and ‘I just scored FOUR GOALS in ONE GAME’).

Update: The Lander news is official.

With at least one probable lineup shift, I’m just going to guess here and update later once we get official word. I don’t imagine we’ll see major changes to the forward unit, and I’d guess that Nick Schultz draws in as fresh legs on the blue line.

  • F1. Nail Yakupov – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
  • F2. David Perron – Mark Arcobello – Ales Hemsky
  • F3. Ben Eager – Boyd Gordon – Ryan Jones
  • F4. Luke Gazdic – Will Acton – Anton Lander
  • D1. Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • D2. Anton Belov – Justin Schultz
  • D3. Andrew Ference – Nich Schultz

Devan Dubnyk will almost certainly start.

Update: I still think Dubnyk starts, but this is interesting.

Coaching & Signs of the Apocalypse

I knew, what with all the talk of firing coaches and whatnot, that things were getting awfully grim. But I didn’t realize how low spirits were until I started noticing the reaction to DSF’s comments:

  • -8/+25 on a comment saying the Oilers had mostly played Eastern Conference “cream puffs”
  • -6/+18 on a comment saying Vancouver had all of Edmonton’s adversity but was playing great
  • -4/+12 on a comment agreeing that Dallas Eakins was in over his head
  • -4/+11 on a comment extolling the Canucks’ virtues

I won’t argue against the Canucks – they have handled some tough circumstances extremely well, and while like the Oilers they have mostly played ‘Eastern Conference cream puffs’ (8 of 13 games) they have also had a road-heavy schedule early. They just went 5-1-1 on a seven-game road-trip, which is insanely good.

What I will say is that it’s way too make Eakins the scapegoat, something that was being done in the comments here yesterday. Certainly, he’s done things I haven’t liked – he was awfully quick to haul last year’s leading goal-scorer out of the lineup, rotating a bunch of skilled first-time penalty killers into the PK all at the same time hasn’t worked well, and the Gazdic-Acton-Brown fourth line never appealed to me – but isn’t it abundantly clear at this point that firing the coach isn’t the solution?

Besides, we’ve seen this play out in reverse before. When Pat Quinn came in, the Oilers jumped out to a 6-2-1 start – one built on getting outshot badly but posting insane percentages. Quinn turned out to be probably the worst head coach in team history. This is the reverse situation: the Oilers have built a losing streak based on decent shot totals and terrible goaltending. I doubt it lasts either.

I can’t definitively say that Eakins is the solution to the problem, but the problem definitely predates his arrival.

Predictions

Game day prediction: 3-0 Los Angeles.

Obvious game day prediction: Mark Arcobello will take three shots that, while all scoring chances, somehow catch the edge of a pad or bounce off the outside of the post or something like that.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: In the third period, with the score still 2-0, Nail Yakupov will get a glorious opportunity from the right faceoff circle. Jonathan Quick will flash the leather, then immediately skate to centre ice with his arms stretched out in the air before sliding to his knees at the middle of the ice. Don Cherry will chuckle as he’s playing the tape of it on Coach’s Corner next Saturday.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#251 Naky
October 27 2013, 10:05PM
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If we keep relying on our goaltenders to win us our games all year 'round, we're destined to pick first overall again. 48 saves, 18 SOG. That's pathetic. If this team doesn't improve its play all around, it doesn't matter who we have in net. Name your goaltender, we're still going to lose most of our games. The players gotta figure this thing out, now.

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#252 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 10:08PM
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Well I like just about every oiler ever in the history of the oilers. But Oct 27, 2013 is the night I fell in love with Richard Bachman. Fantastic performance.

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#253 Serious Gord
October 27 2013, 10:12PM
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Loser point.

Lucky to get even that. Men vs boys even though some of the boys played well. Wish they would hit like that on a regular basis instead of only when the other team initiates.

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#254 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 10:12PM
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we have found our goalie. Plan the parade.

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#255 fig pucker
October 27 2013, 10:24PM
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why is it that this team can't ever seem to get it's ducks in a row? we fix our face offs and improve our 5 on 5 play, then our special teams play and goaltending blow up on us. tonight bachman steals us one point, but we manage 18 shots all game. these guys can't be that bright they can only grasp one simple concept at a time. they make millions of dollars and still can't count to 4 or 5 (to many men penalty). i would say but at least bachman looks like he solved our goaltending problem, but hey he's an oiler i'm sure he'll prove to be a disapointment like the rest of the team.

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#256 vetinari
October 27 2013, 10:37PM
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Well, Bachman may not be the starting goaltender that we expected or wanted, but he better put that return trip back to OKC on hold for at least another week so that we can see whether he is for real or not.

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#257 Cold Hard Truth
October 27 2013, 10:48PM
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It is time the fans start boycotting games and demand Kevin Lowe be fired. I want to see Kevin Lowe airlifted out of Edmonton by helicopter because they abused fans have had enough.

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#258 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 10:53PM
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I know advanced statistics are for nerds, but may I politely and respectfully point out that a save percentage of .979 just might not be sustainable.

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#259 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 27 2013, 11:02PM
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I was hoping to celebrate in silence this evening with another regulation loss. Where the heck is Dubnyk or LaBarbara when i need them.

I'm already pulling for another top 3 pick next summer. Every point cuts like a dagger when this is the goal.

is this wrong, what's wrong with me?

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#260 TDSM31
October 27 2013, 11:07PM
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Time to abandon the 'swarm' system...like yesterday.

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#261 spliff
October 27 2013, 11:09PM
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Even if we had won this game who cares. We allowed 48 SHOTS!

We are so far away from even being a mid-level team, let alone a contender.

It begs the question; what the hell was KLost doing the past 5 years during the so-called rebuild? Why haven't the supporting pieces been put in place? This organization is a disaster. What's the new plan now, get a great goalie who can save 45 shots a game, and hope our "skill guys" can score on one of our three good chances per game? The LA Kings are men (some of whom, like Matt Greene, used to be our men - Thanks Lowe FFS). The Oilers are children against these teams, even though some of these children are getting 6 bills a year and are in their 3rd or 4th year in the league. Tonight's loss was worse then the loss to Phoenix because it truly shows what caliber of team we are. Complete and utter mis-management.

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#262 Cold Hard Truth
October 27 2013, 11:19PM
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This is what we deserve as fans. The majority of fans will blindly congratulate anything our management(Big Daddy)does, and strike down dissenters who float the idea that things could be different. This is what we deserve. What is more alarming is that management appears to have drunk its own kool-aid that its been ladling out to fans for years. Things need to get worse before they can get better.

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#263 Rocket
October 27 2013, 11:25PM
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Bachman or GTFO

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#264 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 11:29PM
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spliff wrote:

Even if we had won this game who cares. We allowed 48 SHOTS!

We are so far away from even being a mid-level team, let alone a contender.

It begs the question; what the hell was KLost doing the past 5 years during the so-called rebuild? Why haven't the supporting pieces been put in place? This organization is a disaster. What's the new plan now, get a great goalie who can save 45 shots a game, and hope our "skill guys" can score on one of our three good chances per game? The LA Kings are men (some of whom, like Matt Greene, used to be our men - Thanks Lowe FFS). The Oilers are children against these teams, even though some of these children are getting 6 bills a year and are in their 3rd or 4th year in the league. Tonight's loss was worse then the loss to Phoenix because it truly shows what caliber of team we are. Complete and utter mis-management.

Not even close to being a contender. Could you imagine the Oilers playing a 7 game playoff series against that team? After a half decade of losing hockey, "sticking to the plan", being patient with the "rebuild", we see a team that has made exactly zero progress. It's beyond discouraging. That last period looked like a 20 minute penalty kill. I wouldn't even call it men against boys. More like Canada vs. Latvia.

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#265 Johe
October 28 2013, 01:16AM
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Yes the Oilers did not play very well tonight. But you can't really measure them on this night alone. Their best player is out. Their 2C is out. Their 3 and 4LW's are out. They played back to back. LA had two days off. The Kings were licking their chops for this one. I understand I'm making excuses, but it's fact, and it lets me keep my sanity.

On a positive note Bachman was outstanding and we got a point. The schedule is about to get better and our health has to improve. Well, hopefully...

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#266 Serious Gord
October 28 2013, 07:36AM
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Johe wrote:

Yes the Oilers did not play very well tonight. But you can't really measure them on this night alone. Their best player is out. Their 2C is out. Their 3 and 4LW's are out. They played back to back. LA had two days off. The Kings were licking their chops for this one. I understand I'm making excuses, but it's fact, and it lets me keep my sanity.

On a positive note Bachman was outstanding and we got a point. The schedule is about to get better and our health has to improve. Well, hopefully...

The oils injury rate is a result of the teams lack of size (amoung other things) it is not just bad luck. Thus the oils reduced roster last night is part of the problem and should not be used as an excuse, rather it is part of a fixable problem.

Obviously you cannot make all your conclusions about the team on this night alone - if you did you would be saying Bachman would be a lock for the vezina. His play masked what might have been an epic rout for the kings.

PS - the kings got 48 shots and yet were still boring. Do all sutter teams have to be this way?

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#267 Serious Gord
October 28 2013, 07:39AM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Neither team looks tired

FYI - Eakins in the post game presser said that they had nothing "left in the tank" in the third. A surprising admission in light of his promises regarding team conditioning.

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#268 michael
October 28 2013, 07:40AM
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spliff wrote:

Even if we had won this game who cares. We allowed 48 SHOTS!

We are so far away from even being a mid-level team, let alone a contender.

It begs the question; what the hell was KLost doing the past 5 years during the so-called rebuild? Why haven't the supporting pieces been put in place? This organization is a disaster. What's the new plan now, get a great goalie who can save 45 shots a game, and hope our "skill guys" can score on one of our three good chances per game? The LA Kings are men (some of whom, like Matt Greene, used to be our men - Thanks Lowe FFS). The Oilers are children against these teams, even though some of these children are getting 6 bills a year and are in their 3rd or 4th year in the league. Tonight's loss was worse then the loss to Phoenix because it truly shows what caliber of team we are. Complete and utter mis-management.

My goodness your grasp o reality is a Dr Phil show waiting to happen. % years ago where were the L.A Kings? Please. Your comparing the L.A. Kings and Edmonton. How far from reality do you live? It took the Kings 7 years of rebuilding to get to the point where they won the Stanley Cup. And are now considered an elite team. Dose not hurt to be given a gift of Carter and Richards. Do you think Kopitar was a 123rd pick? Give yourself a shake this morning and take a breath.

The Oilers received a gift last night in the net. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. Bachmann will probably see another start against Toronto.Given JL's hissy fit the other day in Pheonix it would not surprise if we saw a move next week For JL if Bachmann continues to deliver.Just sayin.

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#269 spliff
October 28 2013, 07:56AM
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michael wrote:

My goodness your grasp o reality is a Dr Phil show waiting to happen. % years ago where were the L.A Kings? Please. Your comparing the L.A. Kings and Edmonton. How far from reality do you live? It took the Kings 7 years of rebuilding to get to the point where they won the Stanley Cup. And are now considered an elite team. Dose not hurt to be given a gift of Carter and Richards. Do you think Kopitar was a 123rd pick? Give yourself a shake this morning and take a breath.

The Oilers received a gift last night in the net. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. Bachmann will probably see another start against Toronto.Given JL's hissy fit the other day in Pheonix it would not surprise if we saw a move next week For JL if Bachmann continues to deliver.Just sayin.

kool-aid anyone?

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#270 In need of Oiler rehab
October 28 2013, 09:00AM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

It is time the fans start boycotting games and demand Kevin Lowe be fired. I want to see Kevin Lowe airlifted out of Edmonton by helicopter because they abused fans have had enough.

With 13,000 season tickets sold and paid for it does not matter if the rink empty, they have our money already. If I (we) cancel the tickets they would be swiped up in a heartbeat as there is a huge waiting list for tickets in this city. Hockey is part of the culture in this city and for the people saying to simply boycott... Good luck with that. We are hooked and they know it. How else can you explain years and years of sellout crowds in an old ass building watching subpar hockey on most nights. 30th, 30th, 29th, and 24th place finish. The Oilers do not deserve us. But we are addicted and the Oilers are our pushers.

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#271 Ari Gold
October 28 2013, 03:44PM
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Kevin Lowe is all rings & no brain.

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#272 75ers
October 28 2013, 04:26PM
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Why are some of these young stars "untouchable" for trading. This team sucks, why are we so in love with these players that can't win as a group? Why the intense love affair? Do we all really think this group will somehow turn into the 80's Oilers? is that what everyone is waiting for? My opinion is we need to shake that idea from ours heads and so does the ownership and management group that are still living that dream. Great teams of today look like the 2013 LA Kings not the Oilers of past. Professional teams need experienced managers and coaches - not the Kevin Lowe social club. Terrible to have to suffer this.

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