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 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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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#101 DSF
November 15 2013, 07:36PM
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Buffalo wins.

Oilers 30th.

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#102 I tried it at home
November 15 2013, 08:44PM
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I remember when Jussi Markinen was called Juicy Rebound. Can we recycle that nickname for dubny? Or just stick with "double your stats boy"

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#103 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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#104 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:30PM
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Yakupov screams at his coach "HEY Coach you promised IGOR that you would let me have some PP time get me out their coach I'll produce"

Eakins mulls it over and says "I guess I did promise Igor, out you go Yak."

Goal... Yakupov follows the Goal up with a cele that only he and Kevin Lowe understand

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#105 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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#106 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 10:11PM
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Oh well, when the tiering round is over we might get tiered down so we can play some teams at our skill level....oh wait this isn't my sons bantam team I'm watching...

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#107 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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#108 Lowblows
November 15 2013, 10:42PM
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Mactavish said he is seeing improvements-well as of tonight we are last- last in goals against- we can't score an even strength goal-what Effie improvements are u talikng about you Effie useless idiot- sending down Arco puts me over the top- I hate this Effie team

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#109 dave
November 15 2013, 10:42PM
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@Ari Gold

and your a pacified kool aid drinker watching this bread and circus and ol bobby staufer the knob gobbler and the rest of the game are getting your hard earned money so keep drinking kool aid lol

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#110 sizzler
November 15 2013, 10:42PM
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Not sure what oilers see in gagner?

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#111 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 10:44PM
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I can't understand how this could possibly be ok. Season ticket holders watched the Oil basically give up in the last 5 minutes.

Coaching hasn't created any cohesiveness.

The players won't fight for space in the last 5 minutes.

Our soft players are playing softer by the game.

This second tier fan watching on a stream from Vancouver isn't the problem. The first tier fans at the game booing the last 2 minutes are a shout loud and clear to management.

If you can't coach the team into giving it their all, change the coach. If your management can't find the right coach for the team, change management. If the president keeps choosing buddies instead of credible, proven individuals, change the president. If the players have a cancerous attitude about how much effort they want to put in, it's honestly the organization's fault. One or two cancers I can understand, but the whole team has a terrible attitude. That's not the players fault.

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#112 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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#113 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 10:53PM
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Mike Wazowski wrote:

Disappointed to see the Oil lose again after a tough start but they didn't fold their tents and pushed back at the sharks. A decent effort and Dubey didn't have much chance on the goals tonight either.

Hopefully a win will come tomorrow night!

The game was over before the oil looked like they were trying. From my perspective the sharks had the game in the bag and let up. And Lo and behold as the game neared the end the sharks put the pillow over the oils face...

The result was never in doubt.

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#114 DSF
November 15 2013, 11:00PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

The game was over before the oil looked like they were trying. From my perspective the sharks had the game in the bag and let up. And Lo and behold as the game neared the end the sharks put the pillow over the oils face...

The result was never in doubt.

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.

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#115 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 11:08PM
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Don't fool yourselves fellow posters. The Sharks did NOT play a good road game. That SJ dressingroom is going to be blasted after the game. They simply played down to the Oilers level for the second half of that game.

That was a pathetic loss. Simply put.

The fans that paid good money to go to that game should boo louder and chant their displeasure. That game was a disgrace. The only thing I wished for was a more embarrassing score. Maybe complete utter embarrassment will beckon change.

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#116 DSF
November 15 2013, 11:09PM
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Sizzay wrote:

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

Yes they do.

But they won easily, why would they need an excuse?

Jason Strudwick ‏@Struds1260

The sharks are playing 3 in 4 nights and are flying. WOW. Every line skates hard and forechecks. Pretty impressive.

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#117 Bryzarro World
November 15 2013, 11:15PM
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0100101101001100010011110101011101000101001000000100001001001100010011110101011101010011

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#118 Johnnydapunk
November 15 2013, 11:20PM
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steelymac wrote:

Anyone who thinks Eakins isnt a vindictive prick look no further than the difference in ice between Smyth and Yak and that was long before the bogus 4 minute penalty.

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.

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#119 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 11:20PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

And all while Rome is burning, the GM pleads for yet more calm and patience. Where do they find these bozos....... 5 yrs later, and it's still the same ship different yr. Letting the players and management in this organization off the hook yet again.

We'll continue to get what we support. Only in Edmonton could a fringe hockey player get a 4.8 mulyi yr deal. The big shake up deal looks to be Klefbom in and Smid out it appears.

Love to see the fallout of a 6-0 Flames victory tomorrow.

I hate the Flames almost as much as the Nucks. But honestly, I'd love to see them light up the Oil tomorrow in a big way.

The entire fan base is beginning to ditch the Kool-Aid.

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#120 DSF
November 15 2013, 11:28PM
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damnDuby wrote:

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.

Couture hit the post 4 times and still ended up with 8 SOG.

Smyth missed the net on that chance and had only 2 SOG.

In other news...Couture took 15 face-offs and won 12 of them...80%.

Hopkins, who went up against Couture took 17 face-offs and lost 12 of them...29%.

Thanks for coming out.

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#121 DSF
November 15 2013, 11:58PM
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Citizen David wrote:

Horak had 2 assists tonight.

And Ben Street had 3 goals.

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#122 DSF
November 16 2013, 12:01AM
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@6 ring circus

Sounds like Hall has had about enough.

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#123 nick
November 16 2013, 04:20PM
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Gregor you are funny, for Ference to sit the team down would actually mean that he is a leader. Only time he leads is when there is a camera in front of him. He is a media whore and not a leader. Give some of the Boston Bruin players a truth serum and see what you learn about his leadership skills. Taylor Hall basically said it last week saying wish we had Horcoff. Talk about a problematic contract, a 34 year old Ference at $3.25 million for 4 years with a no trade. In a year the new management and coaches of the Oilers will be buying that one out.

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#124 GTL
November 15 2013, 12:45PM
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Not watching,I'm saving myself for the Bryzgalov show.

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#125 BIGDAWG
November 15 2013, 01:17PM
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Arco better be hurt.... Eakins stock with me is falling very fast with each line up card he fills out....... score points? play physical? win draws? YOU ARE BENCHED.. sorry sir just trying to help the team win.... WIN? YOU THINK THATS WHAT WE ARE TRYIN TO DO HERE??!! I am still praying for a win here but.. this is getting ridiculous.. why is it the fans who only see it... ps yes, I did turn down free tickets...

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#126 camdog
November 15 2013, 01:33PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

If the Gagner-Hemsky-Yakupov line stays together for 3 periods, they may set some single game record for combine minus.

Agree with others comments that Eakins is sitting his best 2 way forward.

I expect San Jose will score 2 goals with this line on the ice, but maybe they score 1 goal and we won't set an nhl record for most consecutive minutes shutout on home ice in modern day NHL history.

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#127 Spoils
November 15 2013, 01:45PM
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Arco is sitting?

are we going to find out he is injured?

RNH - Hall - Eberle

Gagner - Perron - Hemsky

Arco - Joensuu - Yak

Gordon - Smyth - Jones

I like RNH Hall Ebs back together, and feel like Gordon is a great 4th line center (getting extra key draws)

Yak on third line but first team PP.

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#128 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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#129 BingBong
November 15 2013, 01:55PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

Hard to believe this is real. But if it is MacT should do it in a nanosecond.

I like Matheson, but he also suggested we should sign Whitney to a multi-year deal this past off-season. So, yeah.

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#130 Loyal Oil
November 15 2013, 01:56PM
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I'm stunned at how many Oil fans I talk to that want the Oil to get absolutely waxed this weekend by both the Sharks and the Flames just so they can see how crazy this thing gets. We are into Charlie Sheen territory now with some of these McT pressers. #winning #progress.

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#131 GTL
November 15 2013, 02:40PM
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Remember the good o'l daze when the only anger here was RB and his fist denial. Good times! ....A simpler time and place ... Now there's now... Thank you KL, its up there with Rob Ford!

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#132 Taylor Gang
November 15 2013, 02:46PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Ooohhhh that would hurt. Eberle AND JSchultz? I know schultz hasn't had too many fans of late, but i think he'll figure out his D game and be a solid guy going forward.

Yeah then go to Buffalo and get Foligno and Ehrhoff for the 2014 1st (sarcasm)

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#133 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 02:53PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Yeah then go to Buffalo and get Foligno and Ehrhoff for the 2014 1st (sarcasm)

Re: Sarcasm, are you implying that Eberle, jSchultz and gagner isn't enough for weber?

I'm in a haze until the work week is over so i'm having a hard time picking up what you're putting down.

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#134 Oilspill
November 15 2013, 02:54PM
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Gregor. What's with the GDP? Is that a joke?

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#135 Eulers
November 15 2013, 03:12PM
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GDP: Sharks devour the Oilers. Joe Thornton scores 4 goals and the whole world gets to see why he's called "Big Joe" !!!

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#136 pkam
November 15 2013, 03:15PM
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pkam wrote:

Forget to mention Larsen is 12 years younger. Horcoff 35, Larsen 23.

Almost forget we also have a 7th round pick as well from that trade. Hopefully MacT can pull another Greg Chase.

Oh yea, Greg Chase, 7th round pick, 13G and 10A total 23 pts in 19 games, another positive.

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#137 Johnnydapunk
November 15 2013, 03:26PM
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Wow, Arcobello sent down, Klefbom up !?!?!? Rather baffling move unless there is a trade coming up, can anyone else make sense of this?

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#138 Greenlingj
November 15 2013, 03:29PM
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Arcobello sent down... Klefbom called up...

WHY AND WHY!

Klefbom is in a fragile state rookie dman coming into a ship that is burning... fans are a pressure cooker waiting to boil over...

Arcobello is an amazing two way player... small but unreal with what he has done with his time here.

Accountability goes both ways just like HOCKEY MAC T..

Lets remove someone who is producing and bring up another young player with no back end experience.

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#139 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 03:35PM
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tileguy wrote:

Maybe they are saving money like they did with Smid.

Except according to Capgeek, Arcobello makes less than Acton. The resemblance between a professional hockey team and the Edmonton Oilers grows fainter with each passing day.

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#140 Dallylamma
November 15 2013, 03:48PM
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Gordie Wayne wrote:

Jason Gregor's truest line in the article:

"For some reason our society thrives on negativity too often."

In other words: "Why you heff to be negative?"

The comments section of this site has become far too negative and depressing in the past couple of weeks.

The fans of this team need to start sending out some positive vibes. From now on, I am going to post one positive item regarding the Oilers on every article posted here. I challenge the rest of you to do this too...

grumpycatno.jpeg

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#141 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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#142 Alsker
November 15 2013, 04:35PM
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So they're going to expose Klefbom to this mess. The new shiny toy to parade out infront of the masses. All hail Lord 6 Rings, he gives us another saviour......Is there no depths this management team will not stoop to in hopes of pulling the wool over our eyes. If Katz is honestly oblivious to all this bs then I guess he deserves what is to come. Pitchforks, sickles and torches 109 st + Kingsway. Time TBA.

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#143 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 04:43PM
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I'm in the market for a new ball cap. For the first time in over 30 years I'm not even considering getting an Oilers one.Team Canada sounds about right.At least we can cheer for a good team then.Also it is only a little more then a month to the World Juniors.It will be refreshing to see and cheer for a team that plays with heart and passion.

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#144 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 04:53PM
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A-Mc wrote:

A couple things:

1. The oilers finished 24th overall last year, 12th in the conference. So we're talking about a drop from 24 to 29/30, not 12th

2. The coaching is DIFFERENT. There is always an adjustment period when you experience change. When Ralph came in, he didn't change much due to not having a training camp and already being a part of the system the previous 2 years. Like Gregor has stated, over the last 8 game stretch, the Oilers Special teams has been good so it's likely the adjustment period is over with (for the most part).

I never said where they finished overall last year, just 12 in the division.

I said where they would finish this year, so I'm not sure what you are getting at there?

I also never said anything about Ralph or Dallas, I'm simply comparing statistic.,

frankly, I don’t care if it’s a different coach or the same coach, the overall record speaks for itself.

As you stated, over the last 8 game the special teams have been better, which is more likely accurate?

The last 8 games or the last 19? During the last 19 games the Oilers have been terrible, the last 8 games so-so.

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#145 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 05:06PM
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@pkam

I can't believe your comparing last year to this year; completely irrelevant!! It’s like comparing the 80's Oilers to now! Hi Kevin.

Every team has injuries, who's more important? Stamkos or Hall? Yet TBL are in first place.

You can use whatever excuse you want, I could argue last year the coaching staff had zero time to prepare, if given a full training camp plus games the Oilers might have been even better under Ralph.

Taking more shots doesn’t mean jack! Just because you shoot more doesn’t mean anything! So you were the league worst last year, congratulations you moved up two spots!

Winning and losing is all that matters, look at the schedule and telling what is more plausible, the Oilers beating those teams or the Oilers losing against those teams?

December and January are going to be nightmare months.

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#146 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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#147 Retsinnab5
November 15 2013, 05:13PM
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Arco to OKC!!! MacT must be doing drugs!

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#148 Greg the Hammer Valentine
November 15 2013, 05:18PM
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I know a lot of people here think the Oil should stick with Eakins no matter what. Ok, I get the argument for that.

But lets pretend I was falsly accused of murder and there is a chance I could spend my life in jail.

I get a first lawyer. That lawyer doesn't have time for my case and wants me to plead guilty. I can't do that 'cause I'm innocent. So I get a second lawyer. That second lawyer is so good, that he is named judge. I have to get a third lawyer. When I first go in his office, that third lawyer convinces me he is good enough. However, after a few weeks of watching him work my file, I find he's totally incompetent.

Should I keep lawyer number 3 in the name of continuity and low cost? Of course not. I could end up in jail for the rest of my life because of that idiot.

It's the same with Eakins. Now I'll admit that the jury is still out on him. But for how long? If things do not improve substantially by mid-season and the front-office decides Eakins isn't doing the job, then the argument that "we changed coach too many times" doesn't hold up.

Sure, good franchises have continuity. But their front-offices usually get it right in the first place. If Eakins can't turn things around, I don't know what makes him immune to being sacked. That being said, I wish him to succeed.

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#149 Loweblows
November 15 2013, 05:27PM
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I gather Arcobello is injured because only a complete idiotic buffoon would keep him out considering he has been one of our better 2 way players.

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#150 Loweblows
November 15 2013, 05:31PM
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What's the difference between rob ford and the oilers? Rob Ford knows how to score.

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