TWO DOWN

Brian Sutherby
October 06 2013 08:27AM

All kinds of changes during the off season and two games in, it’s fair to say not much has changed for the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers looked much like the team people had hoped for the first thirty minutes of the season and have looked all too familiar the last ninety.

I don’t think there is one good thing they can take out of that Vancouver game. It was a sloppy effort all over the ice. Way too many turn overs, too many soft plays, questionable goaltending and the end result is another loss.

IDENTITY

If this team is going to get better it has to start in their own end. It’s not just Dubnyk. Yes he has struggled but the entire team needs to make the defensive zone a priority.

This is somewhat hard to do with players that had the freedom to grow offensively and play a wide open style with few consequences in their early years but if they are going to become a winning team they have to take care of their own end.

Before Monday I’m sure Dallas Eakins will stress that compete level and attention to details like turnovers and defensive zone will need to sky rocket. The best way to fix this is by taking away a player’s ice time. I think you will start to see this happen very soon.

PUCK POSSESION

I’ve read and heard things throughout camp about the Oilers wanting to be a puck possession team. Right now all I see is a team that is careless with the puck all over the ice. Regardless if they don’t want to be called young anymore, this is a very unproven group that needs to make better decisions with the puck.

If there is no play to be made, they need to get the puck into safe areas and fight to get it back. A good puck possession team doesn’t mean hold onto it until you find a play or just turn it over.

Right now things are being forced and it’s a big reason the end result is a 44-23 shot differential in Vancouver and a 0-2 start.

GOOD NEWS

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is back and there are eighty games left.

While it’s not the start everyone wanted, there is plenty of time to resurrect the season. It’s been two games, all is not lost.

There are many things that Eakins surely wants to see changed but its way to early to think that he has been able to put his stamp on this team. Habits and tendencies that are deep rooted sadly don’t just change after four weeks of training camp. It will take time to see his type of team.

THE ROAD

You’ve heard it before that in times of struggles or early in a season it can be nice for a team to get on the road.

It’s no sure thing but it’s funny how sometimes an extended road trip can help get some positive vibes going. You get to spend time with just your teammates and escape some of the media scrutiny. Often this can help guys relax and simplify their game.

I can’t think of a better time for a “roady” than right now.

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A Moose Jaw Warriors alumnus and veteran of 460 NHL games with the Capitals, Ducks and Stars—Sutherby is here to regale us with tales of the WJHC, life as an NHL player and much more from a Pro’s perspective. Co-Host's the Jason Gregor show on TSN1260 on Tuesday's from 3-5 and Coaches at www.proconnectionhockey.com Twitter:@briansutherby
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#51 nina russo
October 06 2013, 02:48PM
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Spydyr wrote:

No way, panic mode is not the time to trade one of the kids. It will have to happen when the team is ready to contend. They need a stud defensemen but now , forget about it.

No a trade is not the answer but maybe sending Hall to OKC for a "conditioning stint" would send a message early. No waivers just take him out of the line-up and bag skate him down south till he gets the message.

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#52 nina russo
October 06 2013, 02:53PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

I hope come tomorrow night the lines look more like this:

Hall-Nuge-Eberle

Perron-Arcobello-Yakupov

Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky

Gazdic-Acton-Brown

I know Eakins is a rookie coach, but even he has to see that his lines right now SUCK A$$

As much as DD has sucked beyond all suckiness where has the scoring come from? that's right, guys that don't normally score. Eberle? invisible, Hall, ditto, Yakupov? same. Until the top players on the team start acting and playing like top players this team is sewered.

And please get rid of Chabot!!

EDIT: I forgot about Hemsky

If both Montreal and Colorado can fix their goaltending without changing their goaltenders, then maybe MacT should ask how they did it. I would be packing my bags if I was Freddy Chabot.

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#53 nina russo
October 06 2013, 03:03PM
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pkam wrote:

A week ago I post here saying that it is still quite a way before Hall can be the top 2 centres and was got only trashes and no props.

I know a lot of hockey fans would want to move Hall to centre. But from what I saw in the preseason, we have to prepare to suffer a lot of pain before it will materialize, if it will ever be which is still a question mark.

And honestly, I don't understand why we would want to move a great LW to center. Provided that it finally works out, we fill the depth in centre by creating holes in LW. What do we really gain by this experiment?

Wonder how much of this has to do with relive the dream of Messier's success.

Hall is a 3C at this point, Hemmer is a 2/3 RW, (very good chemistry between them) and Smyth is a 3LW at best.

Meanwhile Ebs and Nuge are first liners, Perron can play 1/2 LW, and Yak should definitely NOT be playing lower than 2RW.

Arcobello is a service-able 2C until Gags returns, and Gordon would be ripping it up as a 4C with whomever he plays with.

That's the makings of four solid lines -- why would you risk Hall's turnovers impacting the Nuge's return, or taking away from Hemsky's new found productivity???? Play him on the third line till he gets comfortable there than you start re-arranging the lines based on productivity.

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#54 patrick miranda
October 06 2013, 03:12PM
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David Hagen wrote:

I have been a season ticket holder since 1994 and this is getting old pretty fast. I agree with Brian that 2 games does not make a season but if they cannot turn it around this year it has to fall on the players and not the coach.

I completely disagree -- both of the previous games were winnable with appropriate coaching. Look at Carlyle in TO they were about to lose their first but he made an astute goaltender change plus shuffled two lines sat one D-man, and they came away with their third straight victory.

Eakins left Dubnyk in when he was struggling (twice in a row) has over played Hall when he was coughing up the puck and making poor decisions without it (twice in a row), and stapled good players to the bench when they were effective (twice in a row).

How many times, and how many issues before you start to see a pattern? Note that the above two in a row refers only to the regular season... lest we forget the last preseason game when the same squad got schooled by an AHL team.

You be the judge, players or coach?

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#55 pkam
October 06 2013, 04:16PM
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nina russo wrote:

Hall is a 3C at this point, Hemmer is a 2/3 RW, (very good chemistry between them) and Smyth is a 3LW at best.

Meanwhile Ebs and Nuge are first liners, Perron can play 1/2 LW, and Yak should definitely NOT be playing lower than 2RW.

Arcobello is a service-able 2C until Gags returns, and Gordon would be ripping it up as a 4C with whomever he plays with.

That's the makings of four solid lines -- why would you risk Hall's turnovers impacting the Nuge's return, or taking away from Hemsky's new found productivity???? Play him on the third line till he gets comfortable there than you start re-arranging the lines based on productivity.

So who is playing the other 1/2LW? Joensuu?

We can have Nuge centre Hall and Eberle, a proven line in the last 2 years.

We can play Arcobello in the 2nd line until Gagner returns. If he is good, then perhaps keep him as the 3C and bump Gordon to the 4th line when Gagner returns. If he is not, OKC he goes. Kind of like the 9 games tryout for the 18 years old. Give him a chance to show he can play in the NHL.

If Acrobello works out, we have Nuge, Gagner, Acrobello, Gordon Acton as our 1C to 5C, looks pretty good to me. Hall, Perron as our top 6 LW. Josenuu, Smyth, and big Gazdic as our bottom 6 LW. Eberle, Hemsky, and Yakopov as our top 9 RW, and Brown the 4RW.

So why do we need to keep Hall as the 3C? Bbecause he has great chemistry with Hemsky? Why not put Hemsky up to play with Hall and Nuge? Hemksy is definitely skilled enough to play in the 1st line. Why waste 2 top 6 players to play in the 3rd line with Smyth?

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#56 Eastern Oil
October 07 2013, 06:31AM
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@ nina russo

Sending your best player, and one of the best left wingers in the Western Conference last year, down for a "conditioning stint" after 2 games is bad enough. Having him sent down after asking him to play centre against the other teams top lines is even worse.

I completely agree that he's struggled, but please step back from the ledge.

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#57 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 07 2013, 07:02AM
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nina russo wrote:

No a trade is not the answer but maybe sending Hall to OKC for a "conditioning stint" would send a message early. No waivers just take him out of the line-up and bag skate him down south till he gets the message.

ladies and gentlemen we have our winner for the "Over-reaction post of the month".

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#58 Benny Botts
October 07 2013, 10:24AM
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@nina russo

A conditioning stint in the AHL???

That is by far one of the worst comments I have read in the nation.

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