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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#251 Alsker
November 15 2013, 08:47PM
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Man that was way to easy. just you like you draw it up. Both D chase puck carrier behind net and plop its in. Frustration already showing, feel for the guys who know how to win.

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#252 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 08:49PM
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14 shots against in that period. Ouch.

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#253 Tokenhill
November 15 2013, 08:51PM
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ONLY 2:0 after first period!!!! ladies and gents. oilers is improving. Sending Acro down is now looking like such a brilliant move. plan the parade!

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#254 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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#255 Gerald R. Ford
November 15 2013, 08:55PM
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DSF wrote:

Buffalo wins.

Oilers 30th.

And Ted Nolan has as many home victories as Dallas Eakins.

Heh.

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#256 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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#257 vetinari
November 15 2013, 09:05PM
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Question of the night:

Will we even get 1 goal?

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#258 Rod from Viking
November 15 2013, 09:06PM
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Loweblows wrote:

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!!

Does anyone remember Ray Whitney one time Oiler given away for nothing at about the same age and size.

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#259 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:08PM
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Sharks Powerplay

Starts whistling 'Sweet Georgia Brown'...

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#260 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 09:09PM
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Freaking clinic...

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#261 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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#262 Rod from Viking
November 15 2013, 09:11PM
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Has Eakins mentioned we could use more Hemsky's on this team as of late, Ryan Smyth, you have been a warrior but you are done and I can't defend you any more. 3-0 wow.

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#263 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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#264 Jerry
November 15 2013, 09:11PM
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This is not fair Oilers are playing a NHL team.

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#265 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:14PM
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Snipe. Probably more defence shown in the beer queue.

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#266 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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#267 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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#268 LoweBlow
November 15 2013, 09:15PM
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Ryan Smyth, hands of stone.

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#269 RexHolez
November 15 2013, 09:16PM
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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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#270 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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#271 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:17PM
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LoweBlow wrote:

Ryan Smyth, hands of stone.

Hands like a snake

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#272 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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#273 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 09:18PM
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A Shakespearean tragic comedy...

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#274 vetinari
November 15 2013, 09:18PM
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Could we sign SJ's goalpost to be our starting goaltender?

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#275 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:19PM
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Whoever in the hell that was that made that stupid pass on the 3-on-1 should be cut.

I'm not joking and don't care if it's Hall.

ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS.

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#276 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:19PM
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Hemsky goes to Smyth on the bench "remember when that guy from Dallas missed the open net and I went back and scored a goal?"

Smyth replies "Why do you ask?"

Hemskey in broken English "He said he wish his stick wasn't curved so much and like 10 times thicker than normal so that when the puck bounced he still could put the puck in the net....what's your excuse?"

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#277 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 09:22PM
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Wow. Some sustained pressure. Now score dammit!

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#278 Fred
November 15 2013, 09:22PM
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SJ goalie looks bad

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#279 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:23PM
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Smith to Smyth on last play "eh shooter, need to bounce off the tenders skates an in"

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

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#281 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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Eakins says "good couple of shift boys, lets build on that momentum."

than follows that up with:

"PP boys, lets go Smyth, Joensuu, Arcobello....errr Acton and Belov and Smid ...err Petry"

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#282 vetinari
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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A goal???? We're allowed to have one of those?

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#283 Peter
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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JESUS FERENCE! Knock that sh*t off!

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#284 Batfink
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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can we attach dooby to the net like a table hockey goalie?

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#285 Johnnydapunk
November 15 2013, 09:29PM
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I wonder how big of a dust loud the goal horn just blew out ?

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#286 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:31PM
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@Rod from Viking

Yeah, he's totally anti Edmonton.

Except for, you know, being from here.

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#287 Darren
November 15 2013, 09:31PM
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That was an amazing shot by Yakupov, it looked like he hit it in the air and got all of it.

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#288 RexHolez
November 15 2013, 09:33PM
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@Batfink

We're gonna play Dubby and Bryzgalov in net at the same time right? Just play with 2 forwards? Is that cool?

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#289 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:35PM
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Wow...the TinMan actually made a play.

Shocker.

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#290 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:39PM
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Not delighted but ok with that effort last 10 or so.

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#291 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 15 2013, 09:41PM
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CHOP WOOOOD!

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#292 EP
November 15 2013, 09:52PM
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Is it me, or does Craig Button look like Jughead from the Archie comics?

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#293 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 09:57PM
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@Zamboni Driver

This may make me look dumb. Ah what the heck I always make myself look dumb.

Who is the Tinman exactly?

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#294 I tried it at home
November 15 2013, 10:37PM
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Well, thats over. Oh hey weekend starts now. yay.

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#295 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 10:41PM
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Poolanov wrote:

I have never hated Ferraro more than I do today

For being right?

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#296 Hauk15
November 15 2013, 10:42PM
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We are number 30 now. Congratulations boys, you've earned it!

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#297 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 10:51PM
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In the past few years, I could console myself by saying"Well, at least we'll get a high draft pick and kickstart the comeback." Now what do you say? It's just pain and suffering. With these guys running the show, we all know a number one pick is just fool's gold. Please, someone, put this management group out of their (and our) misery.

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#298 steelymac
November 15 2013, 10:52PM
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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.

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#299 madjam
November 15 2013, 10:57PM
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History in the making ? We could actually get worse by replacing an underachieving Gm and coach and actually get much worse .Watching them continually lose is getting to be more satisfying and fun to watch than if this misfit squad actually wins a game . The persuit of futility is rewarding is it not ? Lose Oilers Lose and get skunked by the Flames - make us all proud . Mauybe some reverse psychology might wake them up from upstairs to ice .

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#300 steelymac
November 15 2013, 10:59PM
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@Lowblows

I here ya but you really got to relax or the next thing you know 2006Z24 will be on here telling you to get help for your anger issues. :-)

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