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 DSF
November 15 2013, 05:57PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Maybe my theory that Darryl Katz has got himself mixed up with Russian mafia, and the Oilers are involved in match fixing scheme isn't too far off.

Except they could dress their best roster against the Sharks and still probably lose. But they don't have to make it so obvious.

Either that, or Kevin Lowe just loves saying, "The Edmonton Oilers are proud to select, number one in the 2014 draft....."

"lex parsimoniae"

Incompetence is the simplest answer.

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#152 pkam
November 15 2013, 06:04PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

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.

Are you comparing last year to this year too?

Through 48 games last year the Oilers gave up 134 goals.

They’ve given up 75 through 19. Now, I'm not a math wizard but I'm willing to bet that the Oilers through 48 games give up more goals then 134.

Through 48 games last year as you mentioned the Oilers sat 12, through 48 games this year my guess is the Oilers will sit 29th possible 30th.

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

So what statistics are you comparing? Just win and lost and standing? So injury, shooting percentage and save percentage are not statistics? A team can play better and lose, can't they? Penguins dominated the Avs and outshot them 42-18 and lost 1-0. So Penguins played terrible that game?

You also said "You can argue till your blue in the face that it’s not coaching but even the most diehard Oiler fan has to concede that coaching hasn’t been great ether."

I am just arguing that the majority of the problems that contributing to our loss is not the coach's fault. The team isn't any worse than last year despite we face all the injures to our core players. As far as I know, coaches don't shoot the puck and don't tend the goal.

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#153 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 06:05PM
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DSF wrote:

"lex parsimoniae"

Incompetence is the simplest answer.

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

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#154 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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#155 jbogus
November 15 2013, 06:38PM
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Watching the buff Toronto game and end to end with SOOOO much effort being out in - buff rewarded with the lead.

Put in tonight Oil seriously.

So hard being an oiler for life, wish I had permission to follow someone else.

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#156 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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#157 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 15 2013, 06:42PM
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Kinda funny that your telling how the rest of a non playoff season should hopefully go Gregor.

Every Oiler fan knows this drill by heart. Hell Sixrings is a pro at this stuff.

Well at least everyone responsible gets to keep their very high paying jobs and continue to offer no value for the dollars being spent upon them.

Unskilled management that has spent 7+ years screwing up a rebuild get to continue to screw up. Poorly evaluating talent. Not actually building a farm system. Saying we can trade middle of the road defencemen cause we have lots of depth... by the way does mact and lowe understand the saying "A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush"

We get to hear from the media how much value hemsky and gagner are gonna have at trade deadline.

Mact will tell us gems like there needs to be continuity in the head coach position yet he fired the lastguy after one year and was part of the management team that hired him in the first place.

There is no plan, No real hope until a real hockey man gets put in charge.

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#158 DSF
November 15 2013, 07:08PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Flat out, Arcobello can do anything that 89 can do for this team, for only a fraction of the money. So what if you have to bump Mark up to 1-1.5 mill per on an extension next season. Gags has been replaced as this teams 3rd line center. That should be the end of that argument. Archo plays bigger than his frame would allow you to think, while Gagner plays smaller than his frame. Similar players but drastically different paycheques.

What we see here today is how fine the line is between the AHL, and Sam Gagner. It's unfortunate that Arco had the two way deal that made this at all possible. Would really suck if they lost him on waivers at any point. Arco makes Gagner very expendable.

7-2 Sharks. 30th could be all ours come Monday....YYYYESSSSS!

30th could be realistic in 4 hours.

Buffalo is leading Toronto in the 3rd period.

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#159 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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#160 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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#161 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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#162 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 07:43PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

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!

I can understand the desire to get Acton in on the 4th line vs the sharks.

But If it were up to me I would put Gags upstairs for a game and move Arco to second line C then slot Acton on the 4th.

Gagner has been struggling mightily and Arco has been nothing but one of the most consistent oilers this season.

Makes no sense whatsoever....unless Arco is sick or something

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#163 Loweblows
November 15 2013, 07:53PM
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Watch them let arco go for nothing- he will turn into a career 3 rd line centre , have a long career and probably score a number of goal against us over the next decade. Why do we need Arco when we have Keith oops I mean Will Acton on our team, he is so much better than Arco. LOL THIS ORGANIZATION IS RUN BY MONKEYS!!

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#164 DSF
November 15 2013, 07:56PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Oilers 30th again.....They should just permanently attach that 30th on the logo somewhere and be done with it.

Half of what has been said about this team in the last 4 years has been accompanied by "30th" place or "last place" oilers.

They should make every Oiler players wear #30 until they make the playoffs.

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#165 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 08:13PM
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Wow they assigned Arco...Sweet baby Jebus that's mind perplexingly stupid!?

He's tied for the lead in rookie scoring, wins draws and is one of the 2 forwards along with Gordon who can play defence...I though he was just sitting for a game, that would be dumb in itself... this is level 9 stupid!

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#166 Shooter
November 15 2013, 08:52PM
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I'm actually impressed it took that long for the Sharks to get those first 2 goals. If the Oilers can hold them to 2 goals per period for a 6-0 loss, let's build on that.

Good job Lowe. Doing great up there bud. You have earned your high paying job with a proven track record of success. Wait. No you haven't. You have proven you are horrible at your job. Wonder why you are still employed? Oh ya right. You are best buds with the owner.

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#167 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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#168 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 09:12PM
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Boy oh boy did Belov not read that 3 on 2 properly. This Oiler lineup is pathetic.

I find myself actually hoping and almost cheering for the Sharks to light up our Oil. The more embarrassing it gets, the closer it gets us to some true 'bold' changes.

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#169 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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#170 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:19PM
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.

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#171 Kevin
November 15 2013, 09:23PM
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DSF wrote:

Buffalo wins.

Oilers 30th.

Here here let's all toast a cheer to Klowe and Mac T - an accomplishment not many can hold their hats to. Loks like the Oil are skating in quick sand tonight. Just can't get enough of all that skill we have. 3 zero and it could be 5 or 6 nothing by now.

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#172 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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#173 exsanguinator
November 15 2013, 09:24PM
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Poll on NHL.com, "how many goals will the Oilers score at home tonight?"

Zero is winning.

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#174 Tom
November 15 2013, 09:24PM
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Ha Ha Ha

Kevin Lowe is getting paid for his job

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#175 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 09:25PM
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Jesus they still won't put Yakupov on the first PP?

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

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#177 Mike Wazowski
November 15 2013, 09:40PM
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@Walter Sobchak

"Taking more shots doesn’t mean jack! Just because you shoot more doesn’t mean anything!" Guess that Gretzky guy didn't know much about hockey.

You like to cherry pick stats (and poorly). The fact is special teams and goaltending have been better lately and they are steps in the right direction.

Make no mistake, the team has to be better. There aren't more than a few players that can claim to have had a good start to the season but never acknowledging when they've done some things right is just a fanboy throwing a fit.

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#178 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:58PM
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@YFC Prez

I think he is related to old stone hands, oh and he has no heart.

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#179 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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#180 Reg Dunlop
November 15 2013, 10:28PM
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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.

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#181 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 10:38PM
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Joke performance. Effort is fine when you're watching junior A. These are professionals. They're paid to perform.

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#182 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 10:39PM
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That was the most mundane last 5 minutes ever.

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

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#184 Loyal Oil
November 15 2013, 10:42PM
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K. Lowe to McT: "umm, pal are you sure this is what progress looks like?"

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#185 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 10:47PM
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I'll be in Seattle for the Seahawks game this Sunday meaning that I won't be able to watch our mess of a team Saturday. I'm honestly relieved.

This team does not deserve such a loyal and loving fanbase.

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#186 camdog
November 15 2013, 10:50PM
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Lowblows wrote:

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

The problem when focusing on advanced stats is that if you don't understand them, you can easily misinterpret the results.

Earlier in the season the advanced stats were better than last seasons. However the variable that changed is that we were playing weaker competition in respect to the eastern teams.

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#187 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 10:52PM
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@Ari Gold

By soft players you mean.....

....the entire Edmonton Oilers, I assume?

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#188 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 10:54PM
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Aaaaaand there it is.

Someone who really appreciates a good Ales-coast show.

The important thing. Being one of the leaders, he'll be there answering every, single tough question...

Oh...wait. I'm being told Ales has a 'thing' he has already left for.

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#189 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 10:55PM
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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.

High stick. Drew blood. Four minutes. No doubt about it.

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#190 Quintana
November 15 2013, 10:55PM
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Well now let's talk whats really important Ekblad or Reinhart?

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#191 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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#192 Drowning in Oil
November 15 2013, 11:13PM
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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."

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#193 DSF
November 15 2013, 11:14PM
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Gene Principe ‏@GenePrincipe

I’ve seen Taylor Hall after almost every loss. I have never seen him like I just did.The kid cares a ton but the defeats are wearing on him.

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#194 Quicksilver ballet
November 15 2013, 11:16PM
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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.

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

us*

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#196 6 ring circus
November 15 2013, 11:55PM
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If you haven't listened to Taylor Hall's post game interview you should,it's only a matter of time before some of the players start asking for trades out of town,the fans are tired of losing and the players are tired of losing,Katz,K Lowe and Mac T only know how to lose,their ownership and management record speaks for itself.It's time that there is a major overhaul, Edmonton hockey fans deserve a way better hockey team than this mess we have been watching and supporting for the past 8 season's.

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#197 Bloodsweatandoil
November 16 2013, 12:11AM
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Bloodsweatandoil wrote:

Damn.......just got home from my son's Bantam game in Rimbey. Was hoping to come home to a closer result. Did the Oilers play tough at least?

And did Klefboom play?

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#198 120 stitches
November 16 2013, 12:26AM
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Another serious error in judgment by the current Oiler leadership. They arrogantly decide to incur the wrath of the Oiler fan base by demoting Arcobello to OKC in order to play Acton. Was it worth it for the 3 minutes and 45 seconds that Acton played? Eakins should have known better than to have a coach-son situation on a professional hockey team. Action should have been sent down to OKC 5 games ago when they started to bench him. The problem appears to be someone made the decision to tell him he could find a place to stay in Edmonton whereas Arcobello does not seem to have received a similar assurance even though it is clear by any standard he has played much better. The optics of this situation once again unfortunately reflect poorly on the Oiler organization.

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#199 plz gregor
November 16 2013, 12:47AM
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Please Jason, stop pickibg the Oil to win. Prepare for the worst, that way you're never disappointed.

#lifeofanoilersfan

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

Get Rid of Nick Schultz

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