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, 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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#51 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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#52 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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#53 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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#54 Zack
October 27 2013, 09:32AM
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Yeah because starting the first chunk of the season with one legitamite NHL calibre center and below .900 goaltending can totally be pinned on the coach.

It is extremely frustrating though, don't get me wrong but pinning this on Eakins doesn't really make too much sense.

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#55 Islanders of the North
October 27 2013, 09:41AM
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I made a prediction not that long ago the oilers are the new islanders of the NHL.

Examples.

1)Run a high end talented potential superstar out of town because he can't help the team any more. How many times did the islanders do this and these individuals go on to have very good careers somewhere else?

2)How many high draft picks did NYI get and yet were still the bottom feeders of the league? Sound familiar?

3)NYI team management mismanaged players and contracts. Nothing will change until Lowe and the rest of the of the apple dumpling gang are removed.

4)Crazy owner with money

5)Terrible arena nobody wants to play in.

I don't see anything changing anytime soon.....

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#56 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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#57 SRELIOFAN
October 27 2013, 10:56AM
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I think we should stop going to the Oilers games and start selling out Oil Kings games...and I mean all 16 thousand seats. It would be a win-win really. We watch good, competitive hockey, save money on tickets, and get the message to management pretty damn quick.

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#58 Bag wearing Fan
October 27 2013, 11:11AM
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I hear the Oilers are being relegated to the AHL. I bet they still lose.

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#59 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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#60 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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#61 Rama Lama
October 27 2013, 12:50PM
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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.

Yea we could NOT have used him...........he was not in particularly good shape and DE wanted some quality AHL players on his team.

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#62 David S
October 27 2013, 01:08PM
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Apparently Dubnyk has a "sore ankle", thus the callup per Oilers.

Uhhh yeah, OK.

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#63 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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#64 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 02:42PM
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Fading Five. Fictous five.

Macrobello and Perron have impressed. Gordon meets expectations. Everyone else has checked out. Who knew Horcoff and donuts would be missed this much.

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#65 Mikey
October 27 2013, 05:55PM
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Todd wrote:

btw - anyone who trashes my post can kiss DSFs backside. I DESERVE to be negative. I've earned it. This team deserves all the loathing they get.

I have season tickets (the last 4 years...) I have spent many thousands of dollars on this team. (Money where your mouth is.. yadda yadda)

I've made poor monetary bets other more 'realistic' Oiler fans as well as Flames fans as recent as last spring. I always was optimistic we'd be better.... I lost everything.

I have read hundreds of articles on this website, and posted hundreds of comments.

I have watched almost every game and defended this organization, including KBlowe to the death.

I have bashed DSF even when he made sense (sometime he does)

I DESERVE to be pissed. I want a refund for the last 4 years of season tickets. But I can make more money... mostly I want a refund for 4 years of my time that I can never get back.

Anyone who trashes me, should go get a drink of koolaide and talk to me when this team becomes less of a complete joke (if ever)

If you bash someone, even when they are making sense, you sir are retarded. You are what we call a sheep. Blindly following the leader. You can go away now.

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

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

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#68 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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#69 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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#70 Ambassador humantorch
October 27 2013, 09:25AM
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"Quinn turned out to be probably the worst head coach in team history."

George Burnett says hi.

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#71 Loweblows
October 27 2013, 09:31AM
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7 points out of a playoff spot, st loo has 3 games in hand- this season is OVER. Book it! This organization is sick, this team is broken and the fanbase is furious. Thank god we have KLowe. He has 6 rings ya know.

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#72 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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#73 a lg dubl dubl
October 27 2013, 11:02AM
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Eakins could have been hired by at least 5 teams this summer, sure hes made some mistakes but as a rookie HC hes done alright for the most part, I will say this though, I was hoping for AV to be the next head coach here.

Im just as frustrated as the next Oiler fan watching the games only to lose by 1, the team is close IMO, MacT does need to make a trade though, not for the sake of making a trade(Brown) but to shake things up that says to the players that he wont take this laying down. Any trade that is made should involve the 1st round pick.

The defence is the most glaring issue to me that this team has right now, hell Id be glad to take Phaneuf right now.

Time to get crafty MacT!

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#74 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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#75 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 11:21AM
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Obvious game day prediction:Oilers lose,again.Nothing happens it is expected.

Sad face.

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#76 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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#77 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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#78 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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#79 DSF
October 27 2013, 12:08PM
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The Oil r in need of P.H.D's wrote:

(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 !!!

Hanzal got a 2 minute charging penalty on the play.

Should have been 5 IMO.

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#80 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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#81 Johe
October 27 2013, 12:28PM
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GDP: Oilers put forth another solid effort and this time get rewarded with a couple bounces going their way. 5-2 victory.

OGDP: Arcobello scores a goal...

NSOGDP: On the opposition net.

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#82 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 01:04PM
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@Mac962

Labarbra and Dubnyk may not be physically hurt but they both hurt the team.Time and time again.

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#83 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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#84 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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#85 Crackenbury
October 27 2013, 09:23PM
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Petry and Belov are both twice the defenceman J Schultz is at this point in their careers. The Oilers continue to try and force players into a role they are not ready for. It's time to ease up on the minutes J Schultz is logging.

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#87 GTL
October 27 2013, 09:39AM
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Looking outside sums up my oiler optimism . It's a long time to draft day and free agency ... Then training camp and new season..rinse and repeat... In any other relationship I be long gone... A fan since '76 I'm 'bout done....

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#88 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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#89 Rheal1
October 27 2013, 09:56AM
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L.A. to win 3-0

At that rate will the Oilers ever friggin' win? Copy/paste the present roster say, into Columbus, Montreal or even Calgary and you would get a great .700 team. What gives in Deadmonton? Kevin Lowe's head must roll ASAP. Then Katz better stick to Rexall's business plan, not sports.

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#90 onlyoil
October 27 2013, 10:04AM
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GTL wrote:

Looking outside sums up my oiler optimism . It's a long time to draft day and free agency ... Then training camp and new season..rinse and repeat... In any other relationship I be long gone... A fan since '76 I'm 'bout done....

Ya me too, it's pathetic actually, I don't chirp Flames fans or Nuck fans anymore, I live in the present and this organization is a huge joke, Thank you very much Kevin Lowe, Kelly Buchberger, Steve Smith. I like MacT and I like Eakins, I think with time these two could do some good things. Tambi used up all the patience, I think.

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#91 HOFFFF
October 27 2013, 10:11AM
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-14 degrees for Monday in Edmonton and it's still October. Good time to be an NHL Player in Edmonton....going on 8 years of suck. Could have almost completed 2 rebuilds in that time. Drastic changes in a bad culture that started with Pronger pullin the chute need to start at the top, not in the AHL. Drafting high year after year and pulling from the farm seems to be changing nothing. This once proud franchise is now turning into one of the most embarassing in NHL history. How did they manage that?? Through management!! In any other business the entire management group would be given pink slips. Even Joey! Hell, the Oilers were weak even before the flukey 2006 run.

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#92 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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#93 DSF
October 27 2013, 10:28AM
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K_Mart wrote:

While it is too early to put any real blame on eakins, and it is too early to say that our record is a true reflection of our play, it is NOT too early to say the playoffs are out of reach.

They are. I could realistically see things turning around this season, and us closing out the season with a record near or even at .500, but our start has put us too far out.

My guess is we might reach .500 by game 70-75 but we will most certainly not reach the playoffs.

Our goaltending, despite my faith that Dubnyk is good enough to be the man, has essentially already cost us the playoffs.

So yeah, a turnaround is still likely, based on the numbers, but missing the playoffs is even more likely.

The Oilers, according to Sports Club Stats, currently have a 6.4% chance of making the playoffs.

If they lose to LA tonight, that drops to 4.4%.

If the playoff cutoff is 95 points (it might be even higher if the WC continues its dominance over the EC) the Oilers would need to go 40-22-10 to hit 95 points.

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#95 Alsker
October 27 2013, 11:08AM
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I am still choked at the total absence of a response to the hit on Petry. A group of individuals is what we are, NOT a team. No way had that been us doing the hit(wait oh ya we dont hit) there would have been immediate reaction from the dogs, at the very least a scrum of gloves to the face and threats. Are we above such things. Have we evolved beyond such acts of violence or do we simply not give a damn bout the other guy in the same uniform? Losing sucks, but losing and running away with your tail between your legs is degrading. Bagskate every guy on the ice when it happened!!! Obviously changing the decor in the dressing room didn't change this teams culture.

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#96 DSF
October 27 2013, 11:33AM
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Alsker wrote:

I am still choked at the total absence of a response to the hit on Petry. A group of individuals is what we are, NOT a team. No way had that been us doing the hit(wait oh ya we dont hit) there would have been immediate reaction from the dogs, at the very least a scrum of gloves to the face and threats. Are we above such things. Have we evolved beyond such acts of violence or do we simply not give a damn bout the other guy in the same uniform? Losing sucks, but losing and running away with your tail between your legs is degrading. Bagskate every guy on the ice when it happened!!! Obviously changing the decor in the dressing room didn't change this teams culture.

"Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety Monday for a hit on Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.

At 13:42 of the first period, Hanzal checked Petry against the boards in the Edmonton end after Petry had moved the puck. Hanzal received a two-minute minor for charging on the play.

Petry was shaken up on the play but remained in the game."

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/hanzal-faces-hearing-for-hit-on-oilers-petry/

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#97 Loweblows
October 27 2013, 01:27PM
Trash it!
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Cheers
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Despite my negative postings I am excited to hunker down in the man cave and watch the game tonight. I think I have Bi-Poiler Syndrome. Go Oilers!

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#98 Gaz
October 27 2013, 02:06PM
Trash it!
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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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#99 madjam
October 27 2013, 02:32PM
Trash it!
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Cheers
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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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#100 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 02:35PM
Trash it!
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Cheers
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MBAs often confuse the words bold and bored.

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