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, 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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#201 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:22PM
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The Yak,finally, great pick play by Arco @ the point to set up the play.

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#202 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:31PM
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Is it because Bachmans making the saves he should or being his first game but we're actually having a decent game in our zone tonite. Ebbs and Belov having great games.

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#203 Serious Gord
October 27 2013, 09:41PM
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Shultz pushed frattin. Oilers got a big break.

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#204 pelhem grenville
October 27 2013, 09:48AM
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...whoweee... look at JW taking a shot at the Yak slide in the not-so-obvious part...

seconded here...thanks JW

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#205 Smokey
October 27 2013, 09:57AM
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@hockeycrazed

Rimmer? The WHL/ ECHL kid? What you talking bout Willis?

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#206 madjam
October 27 2013, 10:22AM
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Any chance they can add Nurse from junior to shore up defensive lapses ? Have no fear Sam Gagner should soon be here . The way we play to lose you'd think I was a sin to win ?

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#207 -30-
October 27 2013, 10:55AM
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A new coach. A new system to learn. A bunch of new players.

What isn't new is the bipolarity that plagues this board.

With two wins the oil are world beaters. Two losses and it's time to fire and trade everyone away.

It's the same every year. The teams that are going like gangbusters before Christmas are fighting to make the playoffs come March.

At least we're not in as dire straits as the Eskimos where there is NO hope for a few years.

The Oil at least have an upside.

BTW JW, isn't it POSSIBLY in the headline?

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#208 Mikey
October 27 2013, 11:21AM
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Butters wrote:

The Oilers have scored more, or just as many goals as 26 other NHL teams. Problem is, they are dead last in GA. There are other problems, but they need to be able to count on their goalies to not let in that 5th or 6th goal.

Or, on the Defensive side of things. So the goalie is not left trying to make up for a porous defense.

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#209 Sec 118, Row 11... For now...
October 27 2013, 11:24AM
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Bag wearing Fan wrote:

I hear the Oilers are being relegated to the AHL. I bet they still lose.

I wish. That'd save me $20K a year in garbage collection fees... I mean, tickets.

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#210 Dan 1919
October 27 2013, 11:44AM
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The Oilers are terrible until they start addressing problems in net and on the blue line.

Meanwhile, can you do a blog on team Canada assessments thus far, who’d be in who’d be out, if Duchene keeps it up will he play his way onto the team etc.

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#211 The Oil r in need of P.H.D's
October 27 2013, 11:46AM
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@DSF

(1) So, with 4 officials on the ice, how is it that Hanzal is unpenalized and scoring on us later in the game ? (2) Is that guy available. We haven't had that (type of player)on the Oilers... In my lifetime anyways !!!

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#212 Rod from Viking
October 27 2013, 12:08PM
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DSF wrote:

Hemsky has 1 point in his last 5 games and is -3.

He's on pace for a 41 point -20 season.

Hey that's a net of 20 not too bad, what is Yakapov on pace for?

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#213 Dan 1919
October 27 2013, 12:15PM
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DSF wrote:

Hemsky has 1 point in his last 5 games and is -3.

He's on pace for a 41 point -20 season.

Yeah, least value of the bunch.

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#214 Tileguy
October 27 2013, 03:40PM
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Gdp la6 oil1 Ogdp avg weight team of 215lbs will dominate the 185 lb team and someone will get hurt tonight (shoulder) Nsogdp yak scores...no celly

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#215 @Oilanderp
October 27 2013, 07:00PM
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Bachman stands on his head!

*clap* *clap*

*clap* *clap* *clap*

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#216 madjam
October 27 2013, 07:38PM
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We are playing scared poopless . Wow .

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#217 Wonger
October 27 2013, 07:40PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

the kings announcers are pretty sure that was a dirty hit. No bias there.

Man. This is tough.

Clifford needs a Big Mac Beating! Eakins would let him do it too! When will MAC be Back?

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#218 Alsker
October 27 2013, 07:45PM
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Greens forearm was nasty. How that wasn't a call is beyond me. Isnt Gazdic dressed?

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#219 Alsker
October 27 2013, 07:49PM
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@YFC Prez

Maybe, though you'd think he would be a nice addition infront of the LA net. Or at the very least to introduce himself to Regehr+Green.

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#220 dw
October 27 2013, 07:51PM
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Next shift after the Nuge knee on knee hit Eakins puts out the Eager line. We all talk about retribution but had Eager done something stupid and taken a shot at Kopitar or one of their other skilled guys would everyone be jumping on Eakins like they did to Buffalo's coach Rolston after John Scott's head shot in Boston? We don't have the tough guys (and/or team toughness)to match with LA unfortunately. The only way to get back at LA for the shot on Nuge would be to win the game.

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#221 I tried it at home
October 27 2013, 08:36PM
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Good on the Yak for breaking his dry spell, but I dont want to say anything to jinx this. Umm.. Calgary sucks?

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#222 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:49PM
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Clear the front of the net boys

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#223 Greg
October 27 2013, 11:02AM
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Hair bag wrote:

I can agree with you on this point but unfortunately you are just beating your head against a brick wall, KLowe and Katz are buddies and because of that nothing upstairs is going to change for a long long time. I think kLowe still has years to play with before he feels any heat from his boss....this is the sad state of things in Oilerland

I too feel your right. But I won't be giving up my fight. I guess ill keep banging my head against a wall. Maybe I'll bang my head against a Rexall drugs store, that might make me feel better...

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#224 Tim in Kelowna
October 27 2013, 11:21AM
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Whoa, bleak game day prediction. I can't disagree though. In all likelihood we'll let in 4+ goals again, but RNH won't be held pointless. 4-2 Kings.

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#225 D
October 27 2013, 11:23AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Just a few questions and other thoughts. Do you think anyone from the Oilers organization reads these blogs? Probably not....maybe a bit more productive to aim your ire at the organization. Try emailing, sending a letter, phoning the Oilers office.....Maybe boycott a game or two?

As for MacT he is taking the heat for Labarberra and Grebishkov, but no praise for the moves to bring in Ference, Belov, Perron and Gordon?

Can't win em all.....

The Oilers (as with any business getting free market research) would definitely read this blog.

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#226 2004Z06
October 27 2013, 11:38AM
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D wrote:

The Oilers (as with any business getting free market research) would definitely read this blog.

I am sure Kevin Lowe and Darryl Katz tune in daily....please! I wasn't referring to the receptionist.

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#227 Old School G
October 27 2013, 11:41AM
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@Dan 1919

Great points. About Doobie: He is what he is, I like him but he's a tandem type goalie. All we need is a more competent second goalie and like you say I think we could salvage this season. The fact that we have not made a move for a goalie yet is concerning I hope that happens soon.

Which goalie would you want? What would we have to give up to get him?

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#228 Mac962
October 27 2013, 02:43PM
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Butters wrote:

I thought about MR too. Usually the Oilers are big on reclamation projects. I am not sure why they took a pass.

Trust me - Mayson Raymond is a piece a Bigger Leafs team needed. Not the Mighty Mouse Edmonton Oilers, He would not make a difference here. If he was that good , the Nucks would not have let him go.

Decent Player - not what we need.

Go after Tootoo - say what you want- he is the energizer bunny like Brownie only more skill and no fear and fairly close to being as tough, for his size.

Can you imagine [ not that he is a second liner] plying against him and Perron from time to time, It would tick you off to no end.

Think about it. We pay N.Schultz huge bucks for what ?

If i could quite smoking for a week i am sure i can compete with Nick.

LOL -K MAYBE NOT.

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#229 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 02:53PM
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Gaz wrote:

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.

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.

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#230 spider "man?"
October 27 2013, 03:41PM
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Peeling back DFS?

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#231 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 04:19PM
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Mac962 wrote:

Lol - you make laugh, no , really you do ! Honest , you are so witty.

Yeah , i was under the table.

You from Calgary ?

Don't comment any further unless you wish to add your real name

So we can all see what highly intelligent individual you are.

Where to begin?

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#232 oilerjed
October 27 2013, 04:43PM
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Didn't even bother reading the comments section this article was so bad. Why bother posting anything at all if your using screen shots of the most negative person on this site for most of it. A bad day for Oilers Nation.

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#233 bwar
October 27 2013, 05:47PM
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I think Dudnyk is a legit #1.

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#234 Alsker
October 27 2013, 06:39PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

You're forgeting the time it takes to get dressed, decide where they're going for dinner after the game, and who gets the cabfare back to the hotel. Serious brain straining stuff. Someone in this organization better grow a spine soon or skreech will be the only thing left to rid this crap taste out of my mouth. Oh well, keep dreaming, Go Oil!!!

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#235 Mac and Cheese
October 27 2013, 06:53PM
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Abdullah wrote:

You think you gonna tell me what to do. Nope. I read enough of your nonesense every day loser. Get a life. Who cares if the Oilers or any other NHL team wins or loses. I'm done with hockey and all the bs that goes with it-like wasting a minute of my life on this. Bye forever. Don't tell me your name cause I really don't give a damn.

Me too!

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#236 nick
October 27 2013, 07:13PM
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@Loweblows

Absolutely agree, McT made a horrible mistake hiring this egotistical coach who thinks his way is the only right way. After destroying the special teams what more can he screw up

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#237 StHenriOilBomb
October 27 2013, 07:32PM
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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE!!!!!!

Never, ever again title an article "nothing could possibly go wrong".

I'm so mad right now.

edit: oh. Nuge is back. huh. These Kings announcers made it sound like he was gone. Bizarre.

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#238 StHenriOilBomb
October 27 2013, 07:33PM
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the kings announcers are pretty sure that was a dirty hit. No bias there.

Man. This is tough.

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#239 Alsker
October 27 2013, 07:39PM
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Do my eyes deceive me!!!The Nuuuuuuuuuuuuggeeeeeeee returns!!!

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#240 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:16PM
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Lol. Ever see someone you know on the Safeway score to win?

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#241 Serious Gord
October 27 2013, 09:52PM
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45-18 sog in favor of la. Oh the corsi!!

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#242 Thumby
October 27 2013, 09:58PM
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Epic PK required!!!!

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#243 cubsfan
October 27 2013, 09:59PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

That look on Eakins face says it all

what is that 3 games in a row

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#244 Thumby
October 27 2013, 09:59PM
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Sweeeett!!!!!

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#245 Thumby
October 27 2013, 10:03PM
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Bachman look like Kiprusof from 2004 out there...now let's see how he does in the shootout.

If he stones them, I think we have our solution for goal (at least till next game)!

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

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#247 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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#248 onlyoil
October 27 2013, 10:16AM
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@schmidty66 wrote:

I realize that the coach carousel with the Oilers has to stop. That can only happen when new management hire a decent NHL coach. First Quinn then his asst Renny then his asst Kruger now Eakins all the while keeping the core of asst coaches like Bucky Smith and Chabot around? With coaches like Ruff, Tortortella and Vigneault available last year I can not figure out how we ended up with Eakins an unproven coach who seems to have lost the room already. I have had season tickets for nearly 15 years every year lately I kick myself for renewing them. Usually it takes until January before I can't give them away this year it is November. I am a diehard fan it kills me when they play this bad but I think the only way this team gets better is if we the fans just stop going. Then and only the will Katz be forced to make a management change and stop living in the 80s glory years.

They are playing pretty descent hockey 5v5, goaltending, pp/pk have been way below average. Can't win with these 3 brutal aspects of their game right now. With time they probably will come around..who knows.

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#250 Greg
October 27 2013, 11:44AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

I am sure Kevin Lowe and Darryl Katz tune in daily....please! I wasn't referring to the receptionist.

Where else can the oilers get a true read on how the fans feel? Listening to CHED? Ha! This is the one place where they get both barrels. Katz maybe, but Lowe would be an idiot not to read these posts.

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