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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#301 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 06:53PM
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Bryz has made 6 stops out of 7 so far end of first period (.857 save percentage.Admittedly small sample size)

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#302 Fatbob24
November 15 2013, 07:04PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Bryz has made 6 stops out of 7 so far end of first period (.857 save percentage.Admittedly small sample size)

Of his first game...

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#303 Greg the Hammer Valentine
November 15 2013, 07:10PM
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@reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)

Couldn't agree more. And the Flames got Brian Burke now.

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#304 jbogus
November 15 2013, 08:17PM
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Love a good 2 on 1 ....not when we have PP tho

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#305 Mike Wazowski
November 15 2013, 08:28PM
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@Walter Sobchak

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.

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#306 Johnnydapunk
November 15 2013, 08:43PM
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This will not help at all but at least the Kids seem alright in OKC, Horak put in 2 assists and Grebs even got a goal!

Barons Game Report v Heat

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#307 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:11PM
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Hemsky is still on the Oilers?!

Said by daughter who remembers 2006.

Sorta - sez I.

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#308 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:17PM
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God wrote:

Ryan Smyth, hands of stone.

Hands like a snake

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#309 damnDuby
November 15 2013, 11:19PM
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@damnDuby

us*

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#310 GK1980
November 15 2013, 11:48PM
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No offensive cycle. I was at the game and saw a lot of white ice at the attacking end. Same old story, no sustained offensive pressure. Until this is fixed the losses will keep coming.

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#311 dougtheslug
November 16 2013, 12:14AM
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Bloodsweatandoil wrote:

And did Klefboom play?

No and No

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#312 Bloodsweatandoil
November 16 2013, 12:18AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

No and No

lol...thx

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#313 Gaz
November 16 2013, 07:36AM
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@DSF

I don't disagree with the fact that the game was over in the first 30, and I agree that the Sharks had a bunch of near misses. The thing is, so did the Oilers.

Could the game have been 8-6 for the Sharks? Sure. Let's not attribute "bad puck luck" to one and not the other.

Smyth's wraparound is case in point (though I'm sure you think all the Oiler's near misses are the results of being crap players).

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#314 damnDuby
November 16 2013, 07:40AM
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@DSF

Way to try and change the argument to some corsi stats that better meet your thoughts. Calling it right now you are female.

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#315 Harry
November 16 2013, 07:49AM
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Mactavish is failing this team badly and Halls comments prove it. A trade is an absolute must. Arco is going and Del Zotto is coming

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#316 WinterNightSky
November 16 2013, 02:15PM
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Gaz wrote:

I don't disagree with the fact that the game was over in the first 30, and I agree that the Sharks had a bunch of near misses. The thing is, so did the Oilers.

Could the game have been 8-6 for the Sharks? Sure. Let's not attribute "bad puck luck" to one and not the other.

Smyth's wraparound is case in point (though I'm sure you think all the Oiler's near misses are the results of being crap players).

Smyth's wraparound is part of being a bad player. Don't just look at that wraparound, but all of the other ones that he tries. He's never going to hit the net with any of them. All yesterday's did was make that obvious.

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#317 carol
November 16 2013, 09:28PM
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@I tried it at home

Get Rid of Nick Schultz

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