GDB 21.0: STARTING OVER

Jason Gregor
November 15 2013 12:30PM

The Oilers enter the second quarter of their season tonight vs. the San Jose Sharks. The first quarter had disastrous results, and cost them a playoff spot. The management, coaches and players can't look at it that way, playoffs being a pipe dream, but a 4-14-2 start has them 15 points out of the playoffs.

The remainder of this season will be about understanding the system, learning to compete, not just working hard, every shift and hopefully the bitter taste and stench of losing will motivate the players to never be in this situation again.

The Oilers must use the next 62 games to build the foundation of continuity and winning. If they want to become winners, they must be committed to the system, their teammates and themselves.

The Oilers are showing signs of improvement in some areas of their game.

Despite going 0-for-5 last game the Oilers PP is 25% in their last eight games. Their PK has killed off 25 of the last 26 powerplays, 96.3%, over their past eight games.

Many will say the Oilers haven't improved enough because they aren't winning, and that is valid. However, the Oilers can't  solve all their problems over night. These next 20 games will be a test of their character and inner strength. Do they have willpower and focus to concentrate on the next game and not pout or worry about the previous 20? Have they learned that they need to play smarter, faster, stronger and with move conviction in order to win?

We won't know until December 29th. That is when they will have played half the season. Can this team stick together, play hard and become competitive? The next quarter of the season will show us a glimpse of whether or not they can execute the system, or if they have the guts to go to the net consistently,  or if they have the intestinal fortitude to try and stop opposing teams from going to the net and the internal desire to finally learn how to win.

The 2nd quarter of the season could show us a lot about which players should be here long-term.

DIFFERENT APPROACH...

If I was Andrew Ference, I would sit the team down and show them some of the great inspirational/motivational speeches from movies. Hockey is a game. You can inject some humour into the game. Try and get the players to relax, inhale and recognize that it isn't life or death.

For some reason our society thrives on negativity too often. Yes, the first 20 games were f^@#*&()*) embarrassing. But whining and focusing on it every day isn't going to change that. Learn from it. Challenge them to be better, and maybe have some fun doing it.

Here are some examples. Guys love this stuff. I know watching these clips made me laugh and they got me fired up.

I'd start with something light... 

"That's what were here for guys, to win." I freaking love that line. Makes me laugh every time...

Most sports movies have a dramatic scene that usually leads to the team bonding or that shows an individual realizing they need to work harder. We eat this stuff up. We love it, and that's why we watch those movies over and over again.

Ference could show them this one. (fast forward to 1:40 to the quicksand speech.) 

"You're playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can't move... you can't breathe... because you're in over your head. Like quicksand." Shane Falco

That could resonate with many Oilers right now. They have had numerous things go wrong...but they can't let it paralyze them.

Then I'd show them this one. It is fitting since the Sharks are in town. (actual words start at 2:00)

For some laughs I'd follow it up with this one. This kid is great.

Then, I would play the greatest sports speech of all-time. I don't care what sport you play, whether you are playing beer league, the NHL, NFL or road hockey this scene/speech will get your blood flowing. 

Eakins could play this one.

"I can't make you do it....Either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals...Now what are you going to do?"

Tony FREAKING D'Amato (Pacino) would have made a great coach.

I would leave them with this one.  

I understand the need to talk systems and strategy, but sometimes you simply need to tap into the emotions of the players, and in this case, with the loyal citizens of Oilersnation.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Hemsky-Gagner-Yakupov
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Joensuu-Acton-Jones/Gazdic

Ference-Petry
Belov-Larsen
N.Schultz-Potter

Dubnyk

Sitting Arcobello is perplexing. I don't get it. He has been solid offensively, defensively and on the PK. 

The Sharks are playing their third game in four nights. They defeated the Flames Tuesday and the Canucks last night, both times in OT. Fatigue

The Sharks have three players averaging a point-a-game. Thornton and Pavelski have 20 points in 19 games, while Logan Couture has 19 in 19. Patrick Marleau has 18 points and Tomas Hertl has 17. The Oilers will face Alex Stalock. He has won both of his starts, and he has a dazzling 0.946 SV% and 1.57 GAA.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: On paper this is an easy choice, the Sharks should dominate, however, it is Positive Friday and if Ference showed even one of the aforementioned videos prior to the game the Oilers will win. Chalk one up for D'Amato, Oilers win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven't scored at home in 182 minutes. They score in the first period, and combined with the first 8 p.m. Friday game that I can remember, the first intermission beer sales are the highest of the season.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ilya Bryzgalov stops 33 shots in his AHL debut in a 4-1 victory. During the 2nd intermission the Oilers show highlights of the OKC victory and a few of Bryzgalov's saves. After the highlights, they play the clip of Bryzgalov saying he is only afraid of bears in the woods.   

SHARE AND DROWN YOUR SORROWS...

Do you need to share your feelings and frustrations about the Oilers? We have the best possible solution. Next Friday is the 2nd annual DJ Suitcase party. Don't miss out. Tickets are already 80% sold out. You can buy them here. See you then.

Speaking of Struds, media whore, make sure you vote for him in Battle of the Blades. If Struds win, the Inner City Children's Program will receive $50,000. That is huge. Take a moment and vote. If you take a few extra moments, answer the Quick Challenge questions, sign in and you will get 7 bonus votes. Do it. Help the kids. Vote here. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#151 Naky
November 15 2013, 05:09PM
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@A-mc

You and many like you are way too hard on Dubnyk in the sense that you never remember when he steals us a game but instead just parrot the same 'well, he never steals us a game!'. That's not true, nor is it fair to Dubnyk. There have been plenty of games where Dubnyk was the only guy who showed up and nobody else did since he started. I should know, I've watched every single game the Oilers have played in the past few years to much horror on most game nights.

Anyone remember that game in Columbus last year? The one that we won, somehow? Columbus was destroying us and it was the Devan Dubnyk show. Nobody cares though when he does because they're too busy crapping on him for the few bad ones he does let in (like the few bad ones that EVERY GOALIE IN THIS LEAGUE LET IN) to bother remembering the ones he stole - usually because the nights he's playing out of his mind, they lose anyway. Nevermind that the final score is a 2-1 loss, watching the game would show that it would have been 6-1 or more if the goalie wasn't playing absolutely insane.

Even this season, he's played at least two games absolutely out of his mind but the players couldn't score to back him up and earn him the win, and that is usually the case when DD does play a really good game. He plays a fantastic game, the rest of them can't be arsed to raise their own games. So instead, people harp on the one maybe-kinda-sorta-coulda saved that one and maaaaaaybe it could have went to OT and maaaaaaaybe we could have won in the shootout. What people should be doing is crapping on the rest of the team for not playing better but, hey, it's easier to crap on one person.

So back to Bryzgalov. Does he have a chance? Sure. But I'm going to ignore useless statistic comparisons like shutouts until that goalie gets to play behind the gongshow defense and apathetic responsibilities the forwards show on our team on any given night. If he can pull a superman through all that, I'll rightly salute him - but I certainly won't stop pointing out the mess that's in front of him at the same time either.

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#152 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 07:23PM
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Bryz 8 saves in 11 shots.Midway through the second.(.727 save percentage.Admittedly small sample size)

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#153 Rama Lama
November 15 2013, 07:26PM
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I should clarify what I posted, I cannot understand why Mr. Fitness would not play his most consistent player Arcobello. He has out played his peers offensively, defensively, and physically and yet he gets scratched.

This is so far from what a reasonable coach would do........I can only say this is another retarded Eakins coaching move, right from the bantam book.

The only thing left for him is to make Duby play left wing........it's coming bet on it!

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#154 Fresh Mess
November 15 2013, 07:52PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Bryz 8 saves in 11 shots.Midway through the second.(.727 save percentage.Admittedly small sample size)

Oh dear.

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#155 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 08:57PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

One thing I don't understand is the hate towards Acton. He's an honest player who gives it his all nightly.

Not Actons fault. Management doesn't understand.

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#156 Randy
November 15 2013, 09:13PM
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I wonder how the Oilers would do in the AHL. Probably a playoff team

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#157 Sidd
November 15 2013, 09:17PM
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Randy wrote:

I wonder how the Oilers would do in the AHL. Probably a playoff team

I wonder, they look more like a Junior team

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#158 Drowning in Oil
November 15 2013, 09:30PM
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Way to go Yak, he has incredible hand eye co-ordination. Eat that Eakins!!

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#159 BingBong
November 15 2013, 09:39PM
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A little FU from Yak.

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#160 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 10:07PM
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Our home team announcers have run out of ways to talk about the struggling oilers they now just rave about the opposition players. Just spent 3 mins blowing sunshine up coutures *exploitive deleted*

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#161 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 10:40PM
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Oilers now have firmly grasped 30th...

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#162 Step Daddy J
November 15 2013, 11:35PM
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Quintana wrote:

Well now let's talk whats really important Ekblad or Reinhart?

Ekblad . Oilers Need D .

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#163 Randaman
November 15 2013, 11:35PM
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Drowning in Oil wrote:

Mac T " Don't worry Kevin, I really see some improvements in the way the boys are playing".

KLowe " Who said anything about worrying, I can see a cup contender in this team, and I should know. I've won 6 you know".

Mac T " It is sure great to see how calm and collected Dallas is on that bench. Nothing seems to bother him".

KLowe " that is one thing I can honestly say about all of us in this organization, nothing bothers any of us. Darryl keeps signing our inflated cheques no matter what happens out there and because we ran this city 30 years ago, we have all the rope we would ever need".

Mac T " It is funny Kevin, it is almost like people forget we are the reason this city is currently called the city of champions. The fans should be grateful".

K Lowe " exactly, those no good their 2 losers. Only 2 more years and this rebuild will be complete."

Now that made me laugh my ass off! Love that you have kept your humour during this debacle. Thanks Much needed I think

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#164 Citizen David
November 15 2013, 12:40PM
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4-3 Oilers.

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#165 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 01:41PM
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Spydyr wrote:

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score their first goal at home in November. Dubnyk lets in a weak goal I know shocking.Gagner is again minus something.The beat goes on.Oilers lose.Tough time to be a fan of this team right now.

Some people can't handle the truth.

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#166 mlcselli
November 15 2013, 01:56PM
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The decisions being made from the bench keep getting worse There is on justifiable or reasonable explanation to sit Arco except that he is being traded. Nothing else makes sense to me unless he has an injury. Barring an injury, if the Oilers trade him, they need to be strung up.

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#167 Dave "Killer" Carlson
November 15 2013, 02:15PM
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Told myself I wasn't watching until they started playing with some motivation and effort. Clearly hasn't happened yet - first step is scoring a goal at home maybe?.

TV stays off tonight.

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#168 j.0
November 15 2013, 02:18PM
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you guys suck,

hilarious we might win tonight..ahahaha

a new start....ahahha

same old BS "watch how good we will be next year"

in summary you guys suck its in the water.

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#169 Todd
November 15 2013, 05:49PM
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DSF wrote:

So let me get this straight.

Arcobello has been the most consistent Oiler player during the first 20 game, playing well on both sides of the puck.

The Oilers send him down while keeping Will Acton on the roster.

Then, because Ference is unlikely to play, they call up Klefbom who has been pedestrian in OKC but he won't arrive until tomorrow so the Oilers are going to play THE SHARKS with 5 defensemen.

GOOD GRIEF!

Its a paper shuffle. In the real world there are CBA issues real people have to follow. I'm sure its too much to ask you to do 30 seconds of educating yourself before you flap your face.

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#170 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 06:40PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

As Mark Twain said, "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics". You can use all the excuses you can muster, the fact is the Oilers haven't been able to ice a competitive team for the better part of a decade, and despite all the promises and statistical bafflegab, this year is a major step backward.

I was at the Detroit game. It was the worst performance I have ever witnessed by an Oiler team. I watched the Dallas game. After a couple of close calls in the first period, the Oilers never even looked like they were going to come close to scoring. They had zero offensive zone pressure and were stranded in their own zone by the Stars for long stretches of time. It was pathetic. They are visibly worse this year then they have ever been, and we were told it wouldn't be like this

As Charlie Brown famously told Lucy in a Peanuts cartoon many years ago, "Tell your statistics to shut up."

The only statistic I care about is the place in the standings. And it says dead last.

Well said, this is why there will be two new ticket holders next year, I'm done paying to watch that anymore, don't care if they become contenders next year.

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#171 I tried it at home
November 15 2013, 07:24PM
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Im wearing a new hat at different bar, drinking kokanee and sailor jerrys instead of keiths and cap'n morgans. Im doing all I can, damn it.

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#172 Fresh Mess
November 15 2013, 08:42PM
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HAHAHAHAHa....Ferrence slew foots his own goalie for a goal against....

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#173 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 08:54PM
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"What did the coach say about taking too many penalties?" says Perron. Yakupov replies "you can understand the coach?" Smyth yells at them both. "Don't you listen? Coach said take penalties against them; give your heads a shake and listen to the Coach boys." Than procedures to check his own hearing aid.

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#174 Alsker
November 15 2013, 09:07PM
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I hate watching highlights, teams and crowds excited, tense, the thrill of the win, the horror of defeat. Its been a generation since we've had that. I hate you Kevin. Fire Lowe Fire Lowe Fire Lowe Fire Lowe!!!

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#175 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 09:11PM
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Mike Wazowski wrote:

Stamkos was injured in the last couple of nights, if I'm not mistaken. A little different than several weeks of Hall out. Plus first in the east puts them just right around the playoff cut line in the west.

What's that? I can't hear you over all the shots bouncing of Dubnyk.

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#176 RexHolez
November 15 2013, 09:15PM
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Can't teams just start spotting us 3 goals to start?? It's not fair!! every team tries and have professional players and stuff...

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#177 vetinari
November 15 2013, 09:15PM
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Jerry wrote:

This is not fair Oilers are playing a NHL team.

It's not fair but it's the only way for Edmonton fans to see what an NHL team looks like. Blind passes, turnovers, and odd man rushes seems to be all that our team can muster on offence.

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#178 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 09:15PM
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Ryan Smyth, hands of stone.

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#179 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:17PM
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@RexHolez

Sure, but not the 'high end skill' and 'great young players' that the....oh nevermind.

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#180 Kevin
November 15 2013, 09:18PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Any Rob Ford in Edmonton sightings?

ya he and KLowe both appear to be holding on to their Post for no apparent reason. Fans with bags on their heads. I think Klowe needs to start selling his own bobble head

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#181 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 09:23PM
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Wow. Down 3-0. I can't believe they're actually playing now. Lowe must've told them that if they can score a goal, he'll resign.

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#182 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 10:38PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

It could be that SJ is tired or that they called off the dogs early OR it could be that the Oilers finally started to understand how they have to play to get a few wins. Another moral victory, or have my expectations sunk so low that tonight's game seemed pretty good effort-wise.

Could be the start of a moral victory streak....

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#183 dan
November 15 2013, 10:48PM
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@Loyal Oil

no k lowe my balls on your chin is progress lol

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#184 Sizzay
November 15 2013, 11:01PM
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DSF wrote:

Important to remember the Sharks were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights and were on the 2nd game of a back to back.

They won the game in the first 30 minutes and then put it on cruise control.

And, if Couture had had any puck luck at all, the score would likely have been 6-1.

No excuse for back to back games. All teams go through it.

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#185 camdog
November 15 2013, 11:10PM
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Sizzay wrote:

No excuse for back to back games. All teams go through it.

The Sharks were in prevent defense for the last 30 minutes of the game. If you watched the Eskies this season you would understand what I am getting at. There offence put up really good numbers, problem is they started racking up the yards after the game was already over.

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#186 damnDuby
November 15 2013, 11:18PM
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@DSF

Yea and if the oil had any luck Smyth and whoever hit the post for use would have scored and it could have been 3-3. But check-mark for reaching.

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#187 jbogus
November 15 2013, 11:34PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

Did you check the difference in icetime between Yakupov and Smyth? It was about a minute, give or take a few seconds if you factor in penalties that both players had.

Event summary Oil v Sharks

The only difference was that Smyth played almost 4:00 whilst they were short handed, otherwise ice time was pretty equal.

Bringing Smytty's stock up for ...never mind.

Rock, hello meet bottom.

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#188 HOFFFF
November 16 2013, 12:02AM
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On the bright side, Bryz stopped 23 of 28 shots tonight.

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#189 Hemmercules
November 15 2013, 01:55PM
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Those videos are great. Hopefully the leaders on this team have something even close to those for the games ahead.

I wish more teams and players would trash the Oilers before games Eller style. Being called a joke by another team seems like the only thing that will light a fire under theses guys.

Oil keep it close tonight but cough up the usual heartbreaker (or late tying goal and subsequent OT heartbreaker).

WTF is with Arco being out? I'm hoping its a maintenance thing and not just another strange coaching move we have been seeing way too often as of late.

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#190 Mac962
November 15 2013, 02:59PM
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So is it ridiculous to perhaps have Big Boyd Gordon play centre on either the first or second line ? He may be the only one big enough to deal with Jumbo Joe. Yes, he is not really offensive gifted, but does it really matter. We need another Boyd and 2 more Perrons.

Sam should be getting 3rd line minutes right now and go against weaker [ if there is such a thing] sharks players.

Eakins said players who play well , will be rewarded with more minutes, i think Boyd deserves a shot in the top 6.

i Dont know if this game scares me more or tomorrow in craptown. I dont expect the Oil to win tonight but tomorrow, i damn right expect them to win.

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#191 BingBong
November 15 2013, 04:29PM
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So Ference didn't skate this morning; if Klefbom doesn't get here for tonight, and Ference is out, we're going with 5 d-men? Yeah that doesn't make me nervous vs. SJ...

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#192 pkam
November 15 2013, 04:57PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Interesting stat: Bryzgalov has had as many or more shutouts in 1 season than Dubnyk has had in his entire career, 3 times.

Bryz SO's:
2009 - 8 SO
2010 - 7 SO
2011 - 6 SO

Devan Dubnyk - 6 SO in his entire career.

Bryz Career SO: 30
Duby Career SO: 6

Also, Bryzgalov has only had a losing record during 1 season (2008) where he went 26-31-6. He has had a winning record in every other season of his career.

"So you're saying there's a #Chance !? "

Just one question, how many SO Bryz had when he was not playing for the Coyotes?

Mike Smith couldn't stop a volley ball in Tampa Bay, see how he is doing now in Phoenix.

I am not completely negative on Bryz. But I am not completely positive neither. Have you wonder why Philly bought him out with 7 years left in his contract?

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#193 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 05:28PM
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Oilers assign Arcobello and recall Klefbom.The only thing i got on this is "the braintrust" feel the Oilers are out of the playoff race so they might as well give OKC a chance to make it.This is starting to get surreal.

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#194 Taylor Gang
November 15 2013, 06:25PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Probably. But it strains credulity that professionals can be so completely out of touch.

"Professionals"

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#195 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 07:09PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

I am going to the game tonight,I have a bad feeling that it's going to turn out bad for the Oiler's.If it does, I will be the one in section 232, shouting out FIRE KEVIN LOWE!!!! Hopefully other fans will join in.

Chant

Lowe has to go!

It even rhymes.

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#196 Butters
November 15 2013, 07:30PM
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TonyT wrote:

Why is Arcobello sitting indeed? I was very onboard with the Eakins hiring, as he preached alot of the right things this team was missing: accountability, puck pursuit, good with young players, etc. However, all this criteria seems to have gone by the wayside...

Next time MacT interviews a coach, maybe he will ask HOW he will get accountability, puck pursuit etc.

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#197 Fresh Mess
November 15 2013, 08:00PM
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One thing I don't understand is the hate towards Acton. He's an honest player who gives it his all nightly.

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#198 jbogus
November 15 2013, 08:32PM
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Thoughtful on the zamboni driver - using half the ice

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#199 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:26PM
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It's a Christmas miracle.

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#200 Rod from Viking
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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Good, now Gord Miller can STFU about home scoreless drought, he has mentioned it at least 50 times the last two games.

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