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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#251 Dan 1919
October 27 2013, 12:02PM
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Old School G wrote:

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?

To be honest I don’t know, goalies are obviously tricky because if a team is going to let one go, that means they have good faith in their current backup, and I don’t watch enough other teams to know who has good backups (or they’ll trade a good backup, but same story).

I wouldn’t trade Hopkins, and I wouldn’t trade Nurse(unless he was part of a package bringing an Elite D back), and it would take a lights out deal to trade Hall, so basically wouldn’t trade Hall either. Other than that, you can’t really build a team by trading 4th liners.

I think once Gagner comes back it is not unreasonable to expect either him or Arco to be moved.

So... Eberle, Yak, Gagner/Arco, Hemsky(value is slowly being restored, not huge but there), and Perron(but I like him), any Dman, this year’s first round pick. I would move any of those for something substantial in return that helped on the Blue line or Net.

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#252 OilFanInBC
October 27 2013, 01:03PM
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@TeddyTurnbuckle

K Lowe, is that you?

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#253 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 02:35PM
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MBAs often confuse the words bold and bored.

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#254 Mac962
October 27 2013, 04:12PM
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How Do You Know? wrote:

Were you hiding under the table?

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.

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#255 Papamike
October 27 2013, 06:35PM
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Thomas Vanek to nyi for Matt Moulson and picks..

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#256 Mac692
October 27 2013, 06:44PM
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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.

You first tuff guy,

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#257 Abdullah
October 27 2013, 06:52PM
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Mac692 wrote:

You first tuff guy,

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.

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#258 DSF
October 27 2013, 06:52PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

Garth Snow just made a BOLD move trading Moulson,a 1st and a 2nd for a unsigned Vanek UfA July 1!!! Let's hope when Mac T makes his Bold move he doesn't take any lessons from Snow

If the Isles are out of it at the deadline, they'll be able to trade Vanek for a 1st +.

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#259 @Oilanderp
October 27 2013, 06:58PM
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LET'S GO OILERS!

*clap* *clap*

*clap* *clap* *clap*

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#260 DSF
October 27 2013, 07:14PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

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 .

Could well be.

I think he's gambling Tavares can take Vanek's game to a new level.

But even so, Moulson is also going to be a UFA and Snow can likely get his picks back at the deadline if he has to.

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#261 Alsker
October 27 2013, 07:32PM
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Another knee on knee, lowetides prospect reports will soon be Oiler updates instead.

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#262 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 07:47PM
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@Alsker

I don't think I've seen him yet. What a perfect time to put the big man out. Too many pps and pks maybe

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#263 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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#264 Butters
October 27 2013, 01:48PM
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DSF wrote:

In other news...Mason Raymond, who was picked up for nothing on a PTO and has a cap hit of only $1M, is on pace for a 27G 61P season.

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

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#265 okchattrick
October 27 2013, 04:08PM
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Spell check (possibly, not possibilie).

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#266 Alsker
October 27 2013, 05:16PM
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vetinari wrote:

Almost 150 posts of anger and we haven't even got to the game!

Yup, you know it's really bad(or good i kinda remember a time) to see this many posts!!!

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#267 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 06:33PM
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bwar wrote:

I think Dudnyk is a legit #1.

He sure is,on a team that has never made the playoffs his whole pro career.Yeah, yeah it is not all his fault.He is just part of the problem a big part.

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#268 DSF
October 27 2013, 07:14PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

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 .

Could well be.

I think he's gambling Tavares can take Vanek's game to a new level.

But even so, Moulson is also going to be a UFA and Snow can likely get his picks back at the deadline if he has to.

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#269 Alsker
October 27 2013, 07:47PM
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Oiler63 wrote:

They went after our star player yet nobody on our team responded!!! ANYBODY, PLEASE!! This is effing unbelievable.

PP and PK can be worked on but this team culture is fucking unacceptable!!!

It was delayed, but at least it caused a scrum. Thats more than we've seen in the last 10 games.

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#270 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:20PM
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well, I guess better late than never. New PP formation..4 guys on the blueline???

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#271 Serious Gord
October 27 2013, 09:47PM
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Which team seems to be in the better physical condition with two min to go? I thought Eakins said he was going to fix that.

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#272 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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