SKID HALTED

Brian Sutherby
November 17 2013 08:33AM

It's only one win, against a team that isn't very good but it was nice to see some fire and the Oilers offense come to life in the third period. This team needs any positive energy they can get these days and who better to start with than the Flames?

It’s going to take way more than one good period to fix this squad and for 40 minutes it looked like every other game this season but they pulled it out.

BAD

The first period was not the type of period you would expect to see from a team that should be desperate for wins. For a good part of the first 40 minutes the Flames had control of the game. Both Flames goals were once again a direct result of turn overs.

For whatever reason the importance of making strong plays with the puck and keeping it out of the middle of the ice in your own end doesn’t quite resonate with this group. The defensemen were especially soft with the puck and if it wasn't for Dubnyk, many more giveaways could have easily ended up in their net.

GOOD

I really liked Gazdic’s fight tonight. The anti-fighting crowd will say “oh it was just another staged fight and served no purpose.”

I thought this was a great message to his team. Gazdic is tough but he’s not Brian McGrattan tough and I think most of the Oilers players would agree. Instead of hoping for a quiet game, he initiates a tilt with one of the toughest guys in the league and hangs in there for a very spirited scrap.

Did he win?

Probably not, but he didn’t lose. By his actions, he says to his bench that he’s willing to step up and challenge someone much bigger in his role. If he can do it, everyone else should be able to ask a little more of themselves.

When I saw guys do things like that, whether it was a guy fighting someone he probably shouldn’t or a skill guy out of his element blocking a shot or taking a run at someone, it made me want to do more. It makes guys look at themselves in the mirror and say if he’s willing to give more, why can’t I?

FERENCE

On most nights the only physical element (hitting and fighting) in the Oilers lineup has been Gazdic. I was waiting and hoping for someone other than Gazdic to step up and say enough is enough.

The players talk after every game of frustration and anger, yet we’ve never really seen anyone show it on the ice or channel it in an aggressive way. I really wanted to see someone you wouldn’t expect get pissed off. Run someone, slash someone or just yell at someone.  It’s not in the make-up of many of these players but finally someone did.

Ference gets hit twice in one shift and instead of rolling over, he got up and cleaned Stempniak's clock. There has not been near enough push back in any form of physicality with this group, but it was great to see last night. Good on the Captain.

DUBNYK

As mentioned above, he bailed his boys out on several occasions. It was a very solid game from him. You need your goalies to make a big save or two in any game, he did that tonight.

THIRD PERIOD

This was arguably their best period of the season. You could see the jump the Eberle goal gave them. It seemed like a weight was lifted off their backs. After his goal they completely took over. The offensive production came from all the players you would expect.

The way they generated their opportunities was the key for me. They created a ton off the cycle, they were more physical and they sustained pressure in the offensive zone for most of the third. That has rarely happened all season.

WINNING

Losing sucks no matter who you are and going through skids like this is just awful as a player and miserably hard on fans. It seems like no matter what you do on the ice; it’s just not good enough to get a winning result.

They still have a long way to go and I don’t think one period means anything but at least something positive went their way for the first time in a long time.

Look at the emotion after the third period goals, all of these guys want to win. It’s just a matter of figuring out how with this group.

Finding consistency is next.

C76a4c69c9026575581a01d4ac34111c
A Moose Jaw Warriors alumnus and veteran of 460 NHL games with the Capitals, Ducks and Stars—Sutherby is here to regale us with tales of the WJHC, life as an NHL player and much more from a Pro’s perspective. Co-Host's the Jason Gregor show on TSN1260 on Tuesday's from 3-5 and Coaches at www.proconnectionhockey.com Twitter:@briansutherby
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#101 Ed in Edmonton
November 17 2013, 04:12PM
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I would love for RNH, Ganger and Eberle to bring up theirs sticks to protect themselves from a hit and do some in game dental surgery. It worked for Dino Cicarreli and Luc Robataille. Anything they can do to make more room for themselves is a good thing.

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#102 David S
November 17 2013, 08:07PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I prefer bombastic.

Radio is a hot medium whereas TV/video is a cool one (or at least used to be - opinion tv is very hot indeed). So being a bit over the top makes for better more listenable radio.

This is the texbook definition of someone who takes themselves WAYYYY too seriously. Those GC's from Ruth's Chris don't mean you're a paid media celebrity. You do know that, right?

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#103 Gkpoil
November 17 2013, 10:52PM
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pkam wrote:

That is a clean shoulder to shoulder hit. He didn't jump and didn't lift his elbow and didn't target Ference head. You can spin all you want, I have watched the video replay many times. If you are interested to watch it again, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcACqn1exm8

Stempniak didn't hit Ference at his head even though Ference put his head down and himself in a vulnerable position. Can't blame Stempniak for your own stupidity.

CLEAN? I'm not sure if you know what interference is, but to be eligable to be hit you must have possession of the puck.... Ference did not, (watch your replay). Dirty hit justifies Stempniak getting his ass kicked, period.

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#104 God
November 18 2013, 10:40AM
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Suspendable, deplorable or not, I'm happy to see that a few of the Oilers actually have a pulse.

I must say though that I'm a little disappointed that they pulled this one out. Winning only pacifies us and prevents the team from hitting rock bottom. Only that would beckon change. Hopefully the healthy kind. You know. Like cutting out a tumor. Ours is called Lowe-phoma.

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#105 Reagan
November 17 2013, 08:38AM
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In Calgary for the win. Funny that I have to drive three hours south to finally see one, but the corps looks I got wearing my Oilers Jersey was priceless... I got teased... Haha

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#106 GoofyGoon69
November 17 2013, 09:04AM
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Hopefully they can have a winning streak here. The next 2 games are beatable but I have said that 90% of the time,can someone tell me why Klefbom was called up and didn't even play at least 1 game?

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#107 J.P Michaels
November 17 2013, 09:23AM
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what they've done last night in the 3rd period, they got to do this over 60 min's. This time, playing good for only 20 min's worked, but they don't play the Flames every other day.

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#108 camdog
November 17 2013, 09:30AM
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Have the boys played a solid 60 minute game all season? I don't think they have...

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#109 hockeycrazed
November 17 2013, 10:15AM
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It wasn't pretty, but a much needed victory, nonetheless! Congrats is in order. Back to business, I do not know if Keith plays a role in keeping his son Will in the lineup instead of Arcobello, but clearly Will pale in comparison with Arcobello's compassions and skill! put the best team on ice, please!!!! Lucky it was the Flames they were playing last night, they would not have come back if it were a better team! Not after 40 minutes of lacklustre hockey they won't!

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#110 The Swarm
November 17 2013, 10:18AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

The gadzic fight - while entertaining was of nil value to the game. The oil sucked for another period and a half after it.

The Ference "fight" was execrable. Stempniak hit him clean and was injured hitting the boards. He clearly didn't want to fight yet Ference took advantage. He should be fined or suspended. And this fight also happened thirty minutes before the oil rallied.

And the rally was just as much a credit to the flames running out of gas and lack of scoring talent - how many missed opps did they have?!

The slump has been broken and there is a faint flicker of optimism. They play a very weak Columbus next who have lost 3 in a row. A win moves the optimism level higher. A loss puts them back in the well of despair again.

Huh? The fights were near the end of the first period, and Oilers came out in the 2nd looking like they gave a crap. The play by play guy said the looked like an entirely different team. What game were you watching?

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#111 nehdhead
November 17 2013, 10:20AM
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GoofyGoon69 wrote:

Hopefully they can have a winning streak here. The next 2 games are beatable but I have said that 90% of the time,can someone tell me why Klefbom was called up and didn't even play at least 1 game?

Klefbom was an emergency recall because there was a chance Ferrence couldn't play, and a roster spot had to be vacated and Arcabello was the only player who didn't have to clear waivers so he was sent down. As soon at it was clear that Ferrence was fine, (and from the licking he laid on Stempniak, he looked just fine indeed) Klefbom went back down and Arcobello came back up.

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#112 Lowe Expectations
November 17 2013, 10:32AM
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When the work effort rises and the legs are moving this team can compete. But when will we see a 60 minute game, not the 20-30 (or even less) we've see all too frequently.

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#113 Spydyr
November 17 2013, 11:01AM
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Sean wrote:

Bad goaltending by Calgary in the 3rd don't forget

That third period goaltending for Calgary looked very familiar. Like we had seen it somewhere else this year.

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#114 D-Unit
November 17 2013, 11:02AM
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15w40 wrote:

They say never to critique a win - they won, good for them, they should be happy.

Let's be honest, that win would only happen against calgary or a team like them.

Hopefully it kick starts something but 20 minutes of OK hockey and 40 minutes of watching your goalie try and preserve a chance of coming back is not a recipe for success.

Given that 2 of the 3 goals would be considered fluke or bad.

Still a fan, just not going to resume the koolaid consumption quite yet.

The thing of it is, the 2 fluke or bad goals count the same on the scoreboard as the fancy goals. Maybe the "talent" can learn from it. Probably not, but maybe. Plus fluke or bad goals count every time. The make 19 pretty passes and lose the puck before a shot are never goals and never count on the scoreboard.

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#115 oilbaron
November 17 2013, 12:23PM
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I live in Calgary and went to the game last night. Have to say it was awesome to see the disappointment of the Calgary fans as Edmonton roared back in the 3rd.

Nice to at least catch one of their five wins!

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#116 Spydyr
November 17 2013, 12:40PM
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D-Unit wrote:

I for one would love if Nuge or Crazy Eyes took a run at someone. So what if someone wants to knock their teeth out. Might help draw the team together. We need people to show some fight and determination.

Word

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#117 lucky
November 17 2013, 12:44PM
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@Neal

I am not sure what influence the coach can be, but I can say that I like to see the coach show some fire and emotion, and I haven't seen much of that from Eakins so far. I would be so behind seeing what effect a Patrick Roy could have behind this bench, that would certainly be an interesting thing to watch. I know that as a player and as a coach, controlled emotion on the bench is a factor.

It is painful watching these guys turn away from their checks and their reluctance to engage. They try playing no-hit hockey and that is one of the main reasons they don't win the puck back and they don't get secondary scoring chances (one and done). They've loaded up with the softer skill guys - the guys that play in the spaces, not in the crowds, and it's the plugger's job to get the puck to them. I always enjoyed watching 2 guys burn themselves out trying to get the puck away from George Laraque. It's an element this group doesn't have. It's so easy for opposing D to escape and move the puck out of trouble, they have to expend so little energy to do so. We keep looking for our younger Ryan Smyth in the system, a guy who wears the defence down but can still play hockey.

Sadly, you are bang on, it seems it will take a painful trade (the "bold move"). Which guy or guys? MacT is going to have to put his neck on the line, make the wrong move and it could (and should) cost him his job. Does he have the 'nads to do it? - that is the million dollar question. Anybody he sends away, who goes into the right mix, has the skill and if properly supported will SIUTBOHC, that's a given. Our only hope here, seeing as how the administration is not going anywhere, is that MacT is a smart enough guy to pull it off. So we wait ....

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#118 D-Unit
November 17 2013, 01:36PM
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pkam wrote:

I agree if it is a dirty hit or a run like you said. But beat a guy for throwing a clean hit? Why don't we beat a buy that score on us too?

You are good at highlighting the Oilers problems but I don't think you are aware they are problems. Might not need to be fights, but a little physical damage to teams that score on them are what's needed. Not just take it. "Hey, we got scored on again. Let's all put our heads down, hey there's a crack in the ice, oh no, I better get off the, avoid eye contact at all cost".

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#119 Retsinnab5
November 17 2013, 01:51PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Ferrence's actions were disgusting. He attacked a dazed and unwilling participant and caused him injury. He was hit cleanly and reacted with cowardly assault. I expect him to be suspended.

why u heff to be mad?

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#120 Hair bag
November 17 2013, 02:15PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

The retired player had little better perspective than I or you on what happened regarding team morale on the bench last night. And the nearly thirty minute gap between the fights and the goal (and cgy scored one in the second and the scots were essentially tied in the second) would Favour my opinion - not yours.

I don't really know what you are trying to say here, but I think the gist of it is that there is a time limit on when players can find inspiration from the actions of their teammates....really!?! Is it not possible that someone stood up in the room in the second intermission and said, ' look at Cap and Gaz laying it on the line, time for the rest of us to suck it up!' No that doesn't apply because it happened 30min earlier so it has no bearing on the rest of the game...c'mon do better. You're always negative but usually there is a thread of logical thinking in your posts - not this time....

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#121 Mikey
November 17 2013, 03:55PM
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nrXic wrote:

Let me tell you what the Ference fight was a great play on a hockey level, but also on a level that relates to us in our everyday lives in terms of how we, as human beings, succeed or fail in our lives.

In fact, the fight by Ference could and should be labeled as "riveting" and "inspirational".

First off, Ference was reaching for a puck and was extremely vulnerable. Stumper took advantage of Ference in this dangerous position and delivered a shoulder to Ference's head.

A shot to the head, what is the response from the team? There wasn't any.

Ference takes matters into his own hands.

In this, there is a life lesson for all of us.

Stumper didn't want to fight. Ference rag-dolled him around, attempting to get Stumps to own up to his actions, something Stumps didn't want to do.

Many times in life, people will attempt to take advantage of you when you are in a precarious situation, and they do. Once you confront them, they will never own up to what they've done.

Ference made him own up to it.

With Stumper flailing all over the place, it seemed a fight was unlikely. Ference simply never took "no" as an option. It appeared fate said, "no fight tonight" and Ference was like, "I don't care what Fate or Destiny says, I'm taking what is mine!".

At that point, Fate resigned to Ference's will.

Stumps was felled after Ference, through force, made him accept the consequences of what he had done.

What was so movingly beautiful about this incident, was that after this point, no other Flames player took a run at an Oiler for the rest of the game.

No Oiler was, from that point on, was taken advantage of when they were in an awkward position. The Flames then thought twice about their actions, because they knew deep down inside that they would have to own up to it.

Such as in life, if you set a precedent in standing up for yourself, people will take notice and think twice about wronging you.

So. Message sent. Message received. This was the first game of a season series. Take a run at us, and you'll have to admit it.

"Intimidation" is a reality of the game that isn't measured by stats, not even advanced stats, but one that affects hockey plays and the game. Ference should be getting a lot more credit for this play, in my eyes.

I can't agree enough. What Ferrence did was borderline. I want more borderline action from the oilers. Because once you do it a couple times the other team will take a second or two to think about running the oilers. I loved it. You can't tell me some players dont think twice when they are looking at Bertuzzi.

Also I would be pissed if that happened to the oilers.

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#122 Mikey
November 17 2013, 04:17PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

I would love for RNH, Ganger and Eberle to bring up theirs sticks to protect themselves from a hit and do some in game dental surgery. It worked for Dino Cicarreli and Luc Robataille. Anything they can do to make more room for themselves is a good thing.

Yep.

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#123 CaptainLander
November 18 2013, 08:50AM
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If Emery did not get suspended for his assault, I doubt Ference would. FOr those that don't like it, it's hockey, it's rough. Grow a pair or stop watching it.

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#124 Serious Gord
November 18 2013, 09:22AM
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CaptainLander wrote:

If Emery did not get suspended for his assault, I doubt Ference would. FOr those that don't like it, it's hockey, it's rough. Grow a pair or stop watching it.

Emery didn't get suspended because there was no rule against what he did.

However, apparently the league is looking at creating some sort of rule or different directive to the referees and linesman.

thus in that regard it was such an egregious act that the league is actually going to changes rules/protocols to prevent it from ever happening again.

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#125 northof51
November 18 2013, 09:53AM
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Gkpoil wrote:

CLEAN? I'm not sure if you know what interference is, but to be eligable to be hit you must have possession of the puck.... Ference did not, (watch your replay). Dirty hit justifies Stempniak getting his ass kicked, period.

Agreed.

I hate staged fights. This, the Ference vs. Stempniak fight, is the reason fighting should exist. A guy takes a liberty on you, you defend yourself. No hired goons. Just emotion and anger!

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#126 Darrell
November 18 2013, 10:03AM
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pkam wrote:

That is a clean shoulder to shoulder hit. He didn't jump and didn't lift his elbow and didn't target Ference head. You can spin all you want, I have watched the video replay many times. If you are interested to watch it again, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcACqn1exm8

Stempniak didn't hit Ference at his head even though Ference put his head down and himself in a vulnerable position. Can't blame Stempniak for your own stupidity.

He kicked his ass just because - no reply needed a-holes .... It's about time too!

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#127 Darrell
November 18 2013, 10:21AM
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pkam wrote:

Can't agree with you more.

Just imagine if Eberle or RNH hits an opponent player and get some teeth knocked out even if he does want to engage in the fight.

If we were the receiving end of that incident, pretty sure those cheer for this fight will be calling that a crime.

Some times a good ass kicking show enough is enough you gutless anti-Oiler crap talking fool. Its time old time hockey chicklets were spit up for the knee on knee crap and head shots ?

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#128 smiliegirl15
November 18 2013, 10:41AM
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Playing 15 minutes worth of hockey, even though it turned out to be the right 15 minutes, shouldn't be acceptable! I really liked those 15 minutes of their game and I loved Ference's fight. Stempniak deserved it. It was nice to win for a change.

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