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.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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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#151 Oiler Al
October 27 2013, 12:48PM
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Ya goaltending sucks.. and yes the 20 22 yr old guys are expected to carry the team [no their fault for the contracts they got], but the veteran presence on this team is very limited in terms of helping build confidence in the young guys....

Worst of all are the POWDER PUFFS, on the back end posing as NHL defense men!!! They couldnt clear the front of the net if you gave them a Zamboni. I have seen midget players make bigger hits than these guys.Belov and Smid with their size are the biggest powder puffs.Someone feed these guys some raw meat before the game.

Powder puffs,+ Dubnyk and Labarbra = DISASTER

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#152 madjam
October 27 2013, 02:32PM
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Never to early to start throwing games I guess . Kind of like that Ekblad so far . Back to watching junior hockey again , I guess, to get a handle on next years draft .

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#153 Gaz
October 27 2013, 02:40PM
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@sizedoesmatter

Positivity is good. That's the mark of winners.

Positivity to the point of ignorance is where you have to draw the line.

That is exactly what is happening with this team. They'll lose four and nearly have management forced to face up to reality, and then win two, and everything is hunky-dory again. Thats how you end up winning 30 games a year and try to convince yourself and the public that everything is headed the right way.

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#154 How Do You Know?
October 27 2013, 03:39PM
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Mac962 wrote:

Something is brewing with the goaltending. Labarbra is not hurt and neither is Dubnyk. Carolina deal pending perhaps...Just guessing as i have no insight but it is awful funny Bachman gets called up.

Bet we know before the puck drops.

Its time for a deal, the downside is every other team in the league is aware of the state we are in and will be looking to fleece the OIL. Of course there are other teams in out situation as well- DESPERATE !

Tyler Myers needs a new home i think.... is he worth a shot ?

Just thinking out loud....

Were you hiding under the table?

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#155 6 ring circus
October 27 2013, 06:57PM
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@DSF

That's a pretty big gamble by Snow he gave up quite a bit for a UFA If Vanek signs on the island all is good if not that's a big time overpayment .

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#156 Stack Pad Save
October 27 2013, 07:39PM
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That was a dirty hit. Why no retribution by the Oilers? Why, that was your best player just took as dirty a hit you can throw in the game and no reaction by the Oilers. So weak.... So frustrated with this team and with the referees

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#157 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:13PM
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@Oiler63

I never said it was retribution, but from our gutless lot it was almost jawdropping. Why Gazdic wasn't on the ice immediately following the hit or at least a regular shift. Unless he's hurt someones got to explain WHY we won't respond to all the cheap shots we keep taking. Someone other than Perron/Nuge needs to get in Greens face as well.

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#158 OilHub
October 27 2013, 08:14PM
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I know we are only a period in but Bachman looks great, let net a few and keep this kid around for a while..

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#159 Dennis
October 27 2013, 08:18PM
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We'er 5th in the league in 5 on 5 scoring. Huh who knew? Too bad we're terrible on GA because it completely negates everything. Nice to see someone finally dropping the mitts.

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#160 I tried it at home
October 27 2013, 08:45PM
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I just did a quick channel flick to Battle of the Blades and saw Strudwick clean up on the scoring with a truly cheesy mustache and a hot blonde. Gotta be a good omen of some sort, right? Go Oilers! *PS. Almost forgot how ugly Sutter was

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#161 Hangingkayaker
October 27 2013, 09:04PM
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Another minor league goalie. Another lousy night by a lousy team. This is all on Loser Lowe. I will never have anything good to say about this team until Katz's lapdog Lowe is gone!!

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#162 BingBong
October 27 2013, 09:54PM
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Well, the Kings were pretty dominant throughout, but at least nobody can say the effort wasn't there. They were working.

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#163 cubcfan
October 27 2013, 10:04PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Shultz pushed frattin. Oilers got a big break.

....sheesh....you should be negative gord....quit being a wet blanket we found a goalie......maybe, sorta....

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#164 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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#165 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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#166 I tried it at home
October 27 2013, 09:20AM
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I still have faith in Yak City. Now would be a great time to see him explode for FIVE (5) goals and then call up Linus Omark collect from center ice anx tell him "sorry man but thats how we do it in the big leagues". Damn, I wish I had been drunk when I came up with this.

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#167 oilers2k10
October 27 2013, 09:48AM
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I'm usually pretty good a making predictions, today I just got that feeling when I woke up, Yakupov scores 5 goals and has a 9 point night.

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#168 fatso
October 27 2013, 10:04AM
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Mite be faster to become a crazy billionaire then pay Katz double for the oil($400million), then we will see a oil change.

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#169 Greg
October 27 2013, 10:40AM
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Hair bag wrote:

Time for you to get ripped. It's easy for you to bitch but how exactly do you suggest they fix it - names of trades or free agent signings that are realistic, that other teams would legitimately agree to or guys that would actually sign here........yea that's what I thought smart guy. I feel your frustration but the Oilers have had no depth for a really long time which means they have no chips to offer any other team except their young draft picks which they are trying to build around - the only thing that can be done is to be patient. The team had been run so far into the ground after the 06 run that the sad fact is it is going to take a really long time to crawl out of the hole. They have come a long way but there is still a long way to go - since 06 the Oilers have been the equivalent of an expansion franchise with the talent they have had on the roster. Lowe is responsible for thinking he could turn sh*t into gold after 06 and delayed a true rebuild by 5yrs, and then Tambo didnt help things at all. But I think MacT is on the right track, unfortunately only more time will tell....you bitching will do nothing to implement change but feel free if it makes you feel better.

Ok I'm going to make things a little clearer. I'm not going to suggest and trades or signings because I don't want Klowe doing anything. Whit I mean by the oilers having to make changes. It's all upstairs. We can change all the players and coaches we want, but the root if the problem still remains. As an oiler fan I would find it easier being patient if it wasn't with Klowe. My patients has run out with that guy. I would feel more comfortable if I knew we were climbing out of this hole without Klowe. there it is, that is the change I want people to get fired up about making, simply put, stop being patient with Klowe

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#170 EricOG
October 27 2013, 10:51AM
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TeddyTurnbuckle wrote:

I've watched all of the games this year and have to say this is the best Oiler team since 06 despite their record. We would have won last night if Dubnyk was in net. I find it really pathetic how people are constantly taking shots at K Lowe on this site. How about offering constructive criticism instead of recycling the same old K Lowe bashing. Go to some other forum and take your uneducated hockey opinions with you. The Oilers are competing hard every night which is a vast improvement over past seasons. The team is obviously still too young so a little more patience is needed. Yakupov has to stop giving up 5 star to the other team with his poor defensive play. He is directly responsible for at least one goal against us every game. That being said he is getting better at using his teammates.

And right on cue, someone from the front office steps in to defend his boss.

I respect that, however, wasn't it Lowe who gave out all those dumb contracts? (Souray, thecaptainethanmoreau, Staios). That alone was a big part of the problem. Had to clear all those out just to start getting something into the sistem.

It was Lowe who selected Tambo, and look how that went.

Aside from one lightning in a bottle postseason, there is nothing in his resume that screams managerial succes.

Most important, he was part of teams BUILT to win the cup, show me any proof that Sather ever went to him for advise on how to run those teams.

But, I'm just a Center Ice fan, so what do I know?

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#171 Rod from Viking
October 27 2013, 12:07PM
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Henry wrote:

Jeff Petry may be turning into a real 1D. I can't think of 30 guys that I'd play over him.

I really like Petry as well but did you see his horrible effort on the 3rd period powerplay goal by Phoenix yesterday by doing a curtsy instead of an actual shot block? a Labarbera's little temper tantrum should have send him to ECHL and then brought up Bachman not allowed him to go back in.

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#172 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 02:29PM
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On a positive note anyone else watch the Dallas - Detroit NFL game.What a game, wow.

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#173 Greg the Hammer Valentine
October 27 2013, 03:19PM
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It's not too early to make Eakins the skapegoat. We're 12 games into the season and his system still isn't working. That swarm defense is total chaos, who else can we blame but the coaching staff? Meanwhile in Colorado, Patrick Roy is having his players being responsible and playing with a high compete level in every game. What about our special teams? That has to be on the coaching also. Do you remember that 2-minutes 5 on 3 in Montreal? I know we won that game, but come on!

It feels like Patrick Roy leads is troops like Horatio Nelson, but we are stuck with Captain Blight.

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#174 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 04:16PM
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No worries. Richard Bachman is going to make us forget all about Mike Morrison

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#175 spliff
October 27 2013, 06:34PM
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Game day prediction - Oilers go up 5 - 0, but in a repeat of the Miracle on Manchester, give up 6 straight goals to lose 6 - 5.

KLowe points to this loss as proof that we are only a few years away from winning 5 more cups.

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#176 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 07:48PM
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Perron gets called for getting tangled up with regher. That really sucks after the green non call

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#177 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:17PM
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Jonesy! Yeah! That's why I still love ya man

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#178 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:36PM
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@Alsker

Special teams are getting better. That down low to the high slot one timer has burned them so many times. But that play by arco to take the one timer away was great to see. They're learning. Pp and pk look a little better. If they get it up to coach kruegers level with the improved 5 on 5 I think they will be looking pretty good.

Hopefully it's not to little too late

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#179 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 08:51PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

That was a dirty hit. Why no retribution by the Oilers? Why, that was your best player just took as dirty a hit you can throw in the game and no reaction by the Oilers. So weak.... So frustrated with this team and with the referees

The referees should have nothing to do with it.You have to stand up for your teammates.That is what happens when you have all skill and no balls on the top two lines.

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#180 BingBong
October 27 2013, 08:55PM
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Great game by Belov too, he's looked real good so far. Put him with Petry and we have a legit 1st pairing.

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#181 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 09:42PM
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This is like being blindfolded, given a last cigarette, and waiting for the bullet. And they just pulled the trigger with an empty chamber. This isn't even humane.

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#182 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 09:48PM
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@Serious Gord

Neither team looks tired

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#183 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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#184 Woogie63
October 27 2013, 09:40AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Off the top of my head? Holmgren/Berube.

Agree with the mess in Philly... But after that ....

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#185 hockeycrazed
October 27 2013, 09:47AM
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I agree 100% on Coach JW, not only do we have a mediocre no. 1, but we also have an unspectacular second stringer in goal! (I have long stated that choosing Labarbera over Rimmer was a mistake, you can argue hindsight is 20/20). I still think the Oilers is not dead yet, given the more than 30% turnover of their line up, and high injury rate on their top performers doesn't help either! Although, I do suspect the hungriness of some players on the team, as if they were holding back for something to happen, during pre-season play the Oil looked promising, partly due to the opponents they were playing, but most importantly because they have some prospects who tried to make the team and put in 112%, and that's the difference between winning possessions of the puck or not!!! And that, my friend, is not the coach's problem, it is each and every player's responsibility to perform to their capabilities, so the onus is on the players. Of course, traditionally, it's easier to point the finger on one person than 16, right?

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#186 Dan 1919
October 27 2013, 11:28AM
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11 out of 12 games is how many times the Oilers’ goalies have surrendered 3 or more goals. This is a far better team than last year’s. If they actually go out and address their main problem, this season is still salvageable to give us good hockey down the stretch.

The problem is so much pretending everywhere. Eakins should say we need our goalies to be better, MacT should address the media and say we are looking for help in certain areas as we speak in order to maintain faith amongst the players that the organization is going to help.

How many coaches do we need to go through, let’s be honest with ourselves, is firing another coach going to put the Oilers in the playoffs? Absolutely not. This team needs help now, get either a goalie or at least a Dman, trade this year’s first round pick (what will one more do anyway?). Do something, do not wait until the offseason to make a few minor moves and repeat again next year.

Dubnyk should play tonight, yeah the goalie that when he let’s three goals in a game, is said to have had his best game of the season... Fantastic (seriously, he should play though).

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#187 Hammers
October 27 2013, 11:32AM
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Have we had bad goaltending ? Hell yes . Has Eakins Swarm system cost us in both goals & games ? Also hell yes .Did McT clean house? Hell yes Did he add better players again yes . Perron , Ference Belov Gordon .Also some bit players Joensuu Gazdic ( Still not sure on Acton )So where does the problem sit? If you can't upgrade goalkeeping the system needs to change .

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#188 Bags for everyone.
October 27 2013, 11:37AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm not especially an apologist for the scouts in Edmonton, but Jeff Petry has to count as a non first round pick to make an impact, right?

The jury is still out on that one !!

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#189 DSF
October 27 2013, 11:40AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I read your player grades after the last game.........just about everyone got passing grades with the exception being Jason Labarbra.

While I agree with your grades and especially your observations, I can't help but ask the logical question, why not grade the coach as well?

I would love to grade the coaches on line combinations that click, line matching, line changes, coaching hunches, no stupid too many players penalties, special team results, etc.

At some point the " professional writer", have to start questioning the true abilities of the coach..........he has received far too much slack for systems that belong in some other league.

Just read your post after reading this article on Matt Duchene and his thoughts on how Joe Sacco stifled his team:

http://www.denverpost.com/avalanche/ci_24395710/matt-duchene-loves-fast-pace-system-and-personal-style-patrick-roy#ixzz2iuyg9qe6

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#190 Mac962
October 27 2013, 12:47PM
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Something is brewing with the goaltending. Labarbra is not hurt and neither is Dubnyk. Carolina deal pending perhaps...Just guessing as i have no insight but it is awful funny Bachman gets called up.

Bet we know before the puck drops.

Its time for a deal, the downside is every other team in the league is aware of the state we are in and will be looking to fleece the OIL. Of course there are other teams in out situation as well- DESPERATE !

Tyler Myers needs a new home i think.... is he worth a shot ?

Just thinking out loud....

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#191 Gaz
October 27 2013, 02:06PM
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It's going to be a bloodbath tonight.

This latest fiasco (calling up a prospect player - goaltender in this case) is typical of how the Oilers have mismanaged younger players since 2007.

Watch this poor guy get shelled and then returned to the AHL to nosedive like Roy and Bunz.

This organization is exhausting. I'm beginning to agree with the tinfoil hats here that say its all Lowe's fault (I'm shaping my hat to be the shape of a viking helmet, FYI.)

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#192 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 02:07PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Bachman is 5'10", 176 lbs, with a career save percentage of barely.900. The prototype NHL goalie is a tad bigger in the net.I guess this is where the smartest boys in the room continue to show the rest of the NHL how cool it is to think outside the box - playing with undersized players, using small inexperienced forwards on what once was a useful PK, trying out career minor leaguers (including the coaches son) instead of looking to experienced veterans, like other successful franchises do. I can just hear KLowe and MacT cackling to each other "We'll show these guys how smart we are.We're BOLD"

Bold

B-Blind

O-Old

L-Lazy

D-Do nothings

Now you know what Mac-T was talking about being bold.

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#193 David S
October 27 2013, 02:35PM
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madjam wrote:

It's become painfully obvious that are fab 5 have not progressed enough to make us a competitive team as yet . Nor is core around them good enough to carry them during this time . Fab 5 doing stutter steps in progression .

Problem is, the "Fab five" has been more like "Fab three" since the beginning of the season.

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#194 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 03:18PM
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Oasis wrote:

I didn't think my expectations this year were too high? I merely wanted to watch meaningful games in November.

^^^^you sir. I see what you did there^^^^^

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#195 Johe
October 27 2013, 04:23PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

30 wins??!? I'd be happy with 30 wins. This team has only reached that lofty goal once in the past 4 seasons and sure ain't happening this year.

I bet all of Katz's money the Oilers win more than 30. C'mon man!

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#196 Dog Train
October 27 2013, 05:01PM
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The Kings in the regular season are not the Kings who show up in the playoffs. That said, we don't match up well with them. Kings win 3-1.

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#197 madjam
October 27 2013, 06:23PM
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Unfinished business by MacT. has cost us dearly so far . Fillins internally once again falls far to short even with some nice additions .Never expected stellar goal keeping , but never expected the sub par performances most nights . Fab 5 shows little to no progression thus far this season .

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#198 LaBackup
October 27 2013, 06:38PM
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bwar wrote:

I think Dudnyk is a legit #1.

#1 suspect ?!?

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#199 Alsker
October 27 2013, 06:53PM
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Papamike wrote:

Thomas Vanek to nyi for Matt Moulson and picks..

So the firesale begins...well if Buf is shedding $ already, how bout omark and a 2nd +_ prospect or 2 for Ott?... let the craziness begin

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#200 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:14PM
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Ebbs? What kind of pass was that. Backmans playing surprisingly well. Bailed them out there

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