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 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 11:05PM
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Sizzay wrote:

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

It was a high quality road win. That was textbook on how to play a second road game in as many days.

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

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

Event summary Oil v Sharks

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

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

Rock, hello meet bottom.

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

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

Ekblad . Oilers Need D .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#305 DSF
November 15 2013, 11:35PM
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Joanne Ireland ‏@jirelandEJ

In case you were wondering, Nail Yakupov's dad was in the stands. That's where the #Oilers winger was pointing after he had scored.

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#306 Citizen David
November 15 2013, 11:45PM
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Horak had 2 assists tonight.

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#307 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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#308 HOFFFF
November 16 2013, 12:02AM
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On the bright side, Bryz stopped 23 of 28 shots tonight.

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

And did Klefboom play?

No and No

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

No and No

lol...thx

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#311 TDSM31
November 16 2013, 03:44AM
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DSF wrote:

Joanne Ireland ‏@jirelandEJ

In case you were wondering, Nail Yakupov's dad was in the stands. That's where the #Oilers winger was pointing after he had scored.

Yep, he and Larionov were sitting together two rows in front of us in section 114.

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#312 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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#313 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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#314 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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#315 Harry
November 16 2013, 07:52AM
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120 stitches wrote:

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.

A trade involving Arco is coming today. It has to be. Otherwise all hope is gone

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#316 Spydyr
November 16 2013, 09:16AM
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Mike Wazowski wrote:

I'm good with you finding a new team. Been tired of your constant b1tching and ragging on the team anyway.

Hope you don't pull anything jumping on and off the bandwagon.

Who said the Oilers weren't still my team.They have been my team since before the became part of the NHL.Just not spending money on them anymore.

Feel free to skip my comments it wont hurt my feelings.Really it won't.

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#317 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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