So Mark Arcobello Gets To Play Now, Right?

Jonathan Willis
November 25 2013 11:23PM

 

It's been a tough time for Mark Arcobello. While manifestly better at hockey than every member of at least one entire line the Oilers have been running in recent days, he's been stuck in the press box as a healthy scratch. The official reason of late has been that a winning lineup deserves to be rewarded.  

Thanks to Monday's loss, the Oilers no longer have a winning lineup. Which should mean that Arcobello is back in.

Earning Minutes

To borrow a line from Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson, we all know how big Mark Arcobello is. His size would seem to be why he didn't get a shot on the Tambellini-run Oilers last year, and it's the only real explanation for why he isn't getting minutes this year. Everything else he's done has been pretty good:

  • Is one of four Oilers (with Perron, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle) to score more than two points per hour five-on-five
  • Has the best on-ice scoring chance numbers of any Oilers forward
  • Has the best on-ice shot numbers (Corsi, Fenwick, etc.) of any Oilers forward
  • Kills penalties, averaging 1:35 per game with the Oilers down a man
  • Wins 52.2 percent of his faceoffs, second only to Boyd Gordon
  • Leads all Edmonton forwards with 41 hits

Seriously, he's been ridiculous. And to have him sit while guys who struggle to hit the 20-point mark at the AHL level keep getting minutes despite mediocre performances is indefensible. 

If there is a bright spot to Edmonton's loss against the Blackhawks, it's that a very deserving player should find himself back in the lineup. 

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Serious Gord
November 25 2013, 11:30PM
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So who do you recommend be taken out?

A why isn't it Acton?

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#2 Tileguy
November 25 2013, 11:32PM
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Or on the trade block while he has some value. We don,t need more of the same in this lineup. My guess is if he plays his value will go down, not up.

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#3 DonDon
November 25 2013, 11:44PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

So who do you recommend be taken out?

A why isn't it Acton?

Why isn't it Gagner?

Doesn't Gagner's NT/NM contract kick in next year? See what trade value he has now before the club is stuck with his big contract for the net two seasons.

I presume it will be what Hemsky's value was. The Oilers and fans seem to overvalue somew players.

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#4 smrtguy
November 25 2013, 11:46PM
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he doesnt fit on the 4th line. so who do you take out of the line up Jonathan?

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#6 **
November 26 2013, 12:10AM
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@Serious Gord

The way I see it you take Acton out, move Smyth to the fourth line center, move Arcobello to the 2nd line center, move Gagner tot he third line wing in Smyth's place. Gagner would be sheltered by the better defensive play of Oerron and Gordon and might give them more offensive creativity while Gordon handles the center duties. We know what Arco brings to the table, so having Yakupov and Hemsky might make for a fun line, and he is defensively responsible so he can cover for his defensively challenged wingers. Keep the first line as is, that is the Edmonton Oilers top line, period. Smyth does no worse than Acton at 4C. Sit Gazdic for a couple of Games and have Jones ride with Smyth and Joenssu.

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#7 mlcselli
November 26 2013, 12:23AM
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If I am the coach and winning is a priority, I am playing Arco instead of Gagner, and Jones instead of Acton. But I'm not the coach, so I'm just watching (in horror), wondering why winning is not a priority. I realize there are so many areas of weakness,(and changes to this roster is still going to be a long time coming), but the best players need to be iced every game. It would be nice if the team could keep their confidence level positive.

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#8 Kr55
November 26 2013, 01:11AM
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This Will Acton think needs to turn into a bigger story. It's embarrassing that an AHL 3rd/4th liner is glued into an NHL lineup getting exposed every night (although not getting scored on a lot just by dumb luck) because his old man and former AHL coach are running things. Although, i guess it's not that much bigger of a story than Lowe keeping his job after what may turn into a decade of constant losing and Buchy surviving 4 head coach changes.

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#9 Geoff
November 26 2013, 01:35AM
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I don't see how you can't take out Acton and shuffle the lines a bit so Arco has some decent line mates with him.

Funny though as a shorty Arco is still a good player.

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#10 bwar
November 26 2013, 02:35AM
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Arco had a great start to the year but he only got his opportunities because of other players being injured. No one expect him to be with the main club all year and no one expected him to play as well as he did while he was here. Its unfortunate for Arco how things have played out but I think there would be more outrage if another player such as Gagner was benched in favor of Arco. Personally I would like to see Gagner moved to the wing and for Smyth to be bumped from the top 9. Joensuu could probably benefit from a conditioning stint and sending him down would open a roster spot for Arco at least short term.

Hall-RNH-Eberle, Hemsky-Arco-Yak, Gagner-Gordon-Perron, Gazdic-Acton-Smyth

Still leaves Jones sitting out most nights when he hasn't really done anything to not be dressing but at least this gets Arco in and potentially further balances the top nine.

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#11 Oilerz4life
November 26 2013, 02:39AM
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Next game. Start Bryz. Arco 4-C. Trade Will Acton for a bag of pucks. That is all.

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#12 Fresh Mess
November 26 2013, 05:34AM
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Sorry to go off topic, but the news on national TV rights is huge.

CBC retains the Saturday night game and playoffs.

Rogers/Sportsnet gains exclusive broadcast and digital rights to all the rest of the NHL games.

TSN is out.

That is a huge fail for TSN.

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#13 Serious Gord
November 26 2013, 06:02AM
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So the general consensus thusfar is that Acton should come out.

If he doesn't then it would seem a pretty cut and dried case of nepotism.

Acton is too weak a player to even stay on the fourth line of a 29th place team. If he gets sent down he will likely never be heard from again.

Blatant nepotism on the player roster is very corrosive to team morale - just ask any parent of or player in minor hockey. At the NHL level it makes the oil a laughing stock.

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#14 mayorblaine
November 26 2013, 06:49AM
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Arcobello, in any role, is a better option than someone not belonging at this level.

i'm an Eakins fan, but he'll seriously make you wonder.

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#15 Bubslub
November 26 2013, 06:59AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Sorry to go off topic, but the news on national TV rights is huge.

CBC retains the Saturday night game and playoffs.

Rogers/Sportsnet gains exclusive broadcast and digital rights to all the rest of the NHL games.

TSN is out.

That is a huge fail for TSN.

Could we please trade a Pricipe and his dumb schtick for a Mackenzie?

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#16 CaptainLander
November 26 2013, 07:20AM
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Do not understand why he cannot play forth minutes. Beats being in the press box. Sure his hits do little damage but maybe this line could have the puck once in a while. Noticed last night that immediately after the Schultz goal the 4th line was put out, where they spent the entire shift in their own zone, Gazdic looked more lost than Yak usually does back there. Way to keep up momentum, thought that was a bad coaching call.

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#17 Loweblows
November 26 2013, 07:29AM
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Did acton even touch the puck once? It looked like he had broomball shoes on. Nepotism on a grand scale that must demoralize the players knowing that management will play sons intead of players. What a friggin joke!

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#18 Loweblows
November 26 2013, 07:35AM
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Kr55 wrote:

This Will Acton think needs to turn into a bigger story. It's embarrassing that an AHL 3rd/4th liner is glued into an NHL lineup getting exposed every night (although not getting scored on a lot just by dumb luck) because his old man and former AHL coach are running things. Although, i guess it's not that much bigger of a story than Lowe keeping his job after what may turn into a decade of constant losing and Buchy surviving 4 head coach changes.

How can any knowledgable fan could trash your comment. Eakins and a Keith Acton should not be allowed to trash comments on this site. Until I see acton sent down i will continue calling eakins a rookie coach. Actually rookie is a complement, I mean amateur.

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#19 gcw_rocks
November 26 2013, 07:45AM
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Trade Gagner for Erhoff out of Buffalo. Buffalo is starving for offense and is looking to get younger and Gagner provides both. Erhoff is the top pairing defenceman the Oilers need and Arco can fill in at second line centre until whomever they draft this summer is ready. And, its not like the line up gets smaller in the short run since Gagner and Arco aren't that different in size and Arco actually plays a more physical game.

Win all around.

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#20 Hockey Fan 1976
November 26 2013, 07:48AM
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Acton - Joke

Dallas - Joke

Gags - overrated

Lowe - overrated

6 rings - clown

Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that Dallas Weakens, doesnt know how to assees players thatd deserve to play. Why mess with a winning combo? WHAT? you beat 3 botom feeders and Arco may not be the biggest, but man he plays hard and with passion, something your 5 mill and 6 mill toys dont do on a "regular" basis, and as per Acton, is Dallas Weakens being bullied in the locker room by daddy? get that AHL player back to to the farm team so he nevers gets called up again.

That's all :)

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#21 Spydyr
November 26 2013, 07:49AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Sorry to go off topic, but the news on national TV rights is huge.

CBC retains the Saturday night game and playoffs.

Rogers/Sportsnet gains exclusive broadcast and digital rights to all the rest of the NHL games.

TSN is out.

That is a huge fail for TSN.

Was Lowe recently hired as a consultant for TSN?

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#22 Eddie Shore
November 26 2013, 07:55AM
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Kr55 wrote:

This Will Acton think needs to turn into a bigger story. It's embarrassing that an AHL 3rd/4th liner is glued into an NHL lineup getting exposed every night (although not getting scored on a lot just by dumb luck) because his old man and former AHL coach are running things. Although, i guess it's not that much bigger of a story than Lowe keeping his job after what may turn into a decade of constant losing and Buchy surviving 4 head coach changes.

I get, and agree, that Arco should still be in the lineup but saying Acton is getting exposed is inaccurate. Acton/Gadzic have the best +/- on the entire team.

When is this new found "accountability" going to reach Gagner? He is defensively inept and the points are not there right now so something has to give. I think if anyone should be replaced by Arco, he should be at the top of the list.

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#23 CHRIS
November 26 2013, 07:57AM
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ganger out arcobello in.

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#24 hockeycrazed
November 26 2013, 07:59AM
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I can't believe people are still debating whether Arcobello belongs, are we watching the same game here? or are you from a different planet? No wonder the Oil don't have him on the lineup, they were just as blind! No matter what kind of streaks a team is going through, especially it's only regular season games, coach should play every player on the roaster to keep every player fresh, you don't sit any player for 3 consecutive games because you are winning, that is bull! Especially Arcobello was one of a precious few that really played well for the longest time! Do you really have to have connections to be able to play in this league?

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#25 Dave240
November 26 2013, 08:00AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Sorry to go off topic, but the news on national TV rights is huge.

CBC retains the Saturday night game and playoffs.

Rogers/Sportsnet gains exclusive broadcast and digital rights to all the rest of the NHL games.

TSN is out.

That is a huge fail for TSN.

Sad for everyone who works at TSN. They have a far superior product, in my opinion. I like to see journalists get rewarded for their work, but this is opposite of what happened. It must hurt that management (Bell) couldn't step up to the plate for its employees.

Also, I read that Sportsnet has editorial control over HNIC. That should be interesting...

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#26 Loweblows
November 26 2013, 08:03AM
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Is Eakins going to shave his win streak beard now?

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#27 Fresh Mess
November 26 2013, 08:11AM
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The Rogers-owned radio stations in Edmonton are Sonic and WorldFM. I wonder if one of those will be rebranded to sports radio.

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#28 Crackenbury
November 26 2013, 08:16AM
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JW,

I couldn't agree with you more. The winning streak was an excuse to fall into some easy coaching decisions. Arcobello has done everything you can ask of a rookie player to earn a spot in the lineup. I find it disgusting the way he's been handled. He was your top producing forward when playing regular 2nd line minutes and responsible defensively. Getting thrown to the scrap heap to make way for a still injured Gagner made no sense.

Until this team plays players in positions based on merit and good play instead of where they feel they should be slotted they will continue to wallow in the weeds.

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#29 Dave
November 26 2013, 08:21AM
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mayorblaine wrote:

Arcobello, in any role, is a better option than someone not belonging at this level.

i'm an Eakins fan, but he'll seriously make you wonder.

What has Eakins ever done to merit your support?

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#30 thinker
November 26 2013, 08:29AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Sorry to go off topic, but the news on national TV rights is huge.

CBC retains the Saturday night game and playoffs.

Rogers/Sportsnet gains exclusive broadcast and digital rights to all the rest of the NHL games.

TSN is out.

That is a huge fail for TSN.

I just want tsn to open a west channel and show all the oiler games. HNIC has gone way downhill, but are still lightyears ahead of the crap that is Sportsnet. You know it's bad when you look forward to hearing nick kypreos talk. Every single sportsnet commentator is an idiot, especially Principe, who I can't believe still has a job. Telling us last year we could get a second for whitney or khabibulin. Idiocy.

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#31 Wintoon
November 26 2013, 08:34AM
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Gagner has got to go. He is not a competent 2C. He is a disaster waiting to happen and his new contract with an upcoming NTC/NMC is a travesty. What will it take to get some smarts in this organization?

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#32 camdog
November 26 2013, 08:51AM
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Might as well take Gadzic out then over Acton. Makes no sense to move Smyth to 4th line as he is on of the only forwards with Grit on the top 9. No point in having a 4th line that brings heat if Gadzic has Arcobello at centre, if Gadzic starts something then Arco could literally get rag dolled.

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#33 camdog
November 26 2013, 08:57AM
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Surprised you would take Gazdic over Acton?

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#34 oilerjed
November 26 2013, 09:04AM
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After last night the 4th line with size argument needs to be shelved. They were owned EVERY single time they were on the ice. Chi slipped their top line on the ice the moment they had the puck, (which was almost immediately)and were breaking out of their end. It was sad to watch that line get run around all night long. Not even a hit out of them to at least give them a little purpose. Acton is useless as a defensive center as he is to slow to keep up and not getting in for hits. Many chances to lay the beats to CHI top line and passed them up every time. Acro may be small but he hits and skates and can only be an improvement over Acton.

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#35 dougtheslug
November 26 2013, 09:04AM
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The Acton-Arcobello fiasco is symptomatic of this entire organization. Chief Oiler apologist and propagandist Bob Stauffer says on the radio last night, "I don't expect the Oilers to beat Chicago. The big game is later this week against Nashville."

Seven years out of the playoffs, a half dozen high draft picks, half a decade into a rebuild, and Oiler management "don't expect" to compete against elite teams. That statement alone should be grounds for firing the entire management. I thought Kevin Lowe knew something about winning.

Katz still expects Oiler fans to pay elite ticket prices. And Oiler players expect to collect elite salaries at near the cap.

Bob Stauffer must die a little every time he goes to work and picks up his pay cheque.

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#36 oilerjed
November 26 2013, 09:09AM
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Too bad TSN got left out. While I detest their opinionated rumor mongering panels, I think the production quality of the broadcasts is far superior to CBC. Though I enjoy the Sportsnet coverage, the spotty sound and picture on Centerice Feeds this year is pissing me off a little. It would be awsome if TSN took the playoffs and Saturday games and Sportsnet got the rest.

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#37 camdog
November 26 2013, 09:20AM
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Oilers apologest the man himself Bob Stauffer

Bob "Let's not forget the Hawks are the top team in the league right now. This Oilers team really isn't built to compete with the top teams in the league. This team needs to focus on beating the lesser lights of the NHl right now, the Nashville's, Columbus and Calgary's...."

Lol when the Oilers public relations group stops pumping their tires, you know there are problems in Oilerville.

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#38 OilCanFan
November 26 2013, 09:23AM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Trade Gagner for Erhoff out of Buffalo. Buffalo is starving for offense and is looking to get younger and Gagner provides both. Erhoff is the top pairing defenceman the Oilers need and Arco can fill in at second line centre until whomever they draft this summer is ready. And, its not like the line up gets smaller in the short run since Gagner and Arco aren't that different in size and Arco actually plays a more physical game.

Win all around.

First off, I'm not disagreeing with this, but I'd like to point out that 3 inches and almost 40lbs would be a bit smaller in the stats. The big difference is how each plays, Arcobello plays like he is Gagner's size and Gagner plays like his Arcobello's size.

I'm not sure why Either Gazdic or Acton are playing, I don't see either really contributing. What goon is Chicago going to throw out there to torment the top lines that Gazdic is needed? That line looked like Chicago was on the power play a few times

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#39 S cottV
November 26 2013, 09:30AM
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No argument that Arco's performance has been pretty good and he deserves to get a shot in the next few games. However - he is not the mid to long term solution for the hockey club in the middle. There is just no dominant presence or power up the middle on the first two lines and no dominant d man to help keeps things up and out either. So - a small centreman is not going to work against real teams like the Hawks or the teams the Oilers need to surpass for a playoff spot next year. Arco with a Pronger-like d man on the ice for 25 minutes a game - maybe. Arco with J Schultz backing things up and linemates like Hemsky and Yak? - Yikes! The team will obviously allow RNH the time to strengthen his 200 foot presence but its a weakness right now and more of the same in the second rotation with Gagner or Arco? - doesn't work at the top end of the big leagues. Translates to losing a lot of 5 to 4 hockey games.

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#40 mayorblaine
November 26 2013, 09:44AM
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Dave wrote:

What has Eakins ever done to merit your support?

i have my faults.

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#41 Moss for POHO
November 26 2013, 09:46AM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

Next game. Start Bryz. Arco 4-C. Trade Will Acton for a bag of pucks. That is all.

Might only get half a bag. we are dealing from a position of weakness.

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#42 Clarko
November 26 2013, 09:47AM
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Don't get me wrong, I like Arcobello and think he is a great story of someone who has had to earn everything given to him in his hockey career.

But this idea that he was playing amazing when he became a healthy scratch is a little ridiculous. His first 10 games were great. He had 10 points and was a very good +4 on a bad team.

But he reality is he only had 2 points in his 10 games (both points in the same game), was -7 and his faceoff percentage started coming down.

I think it shows how sad this organization has become when fans are so passionate about getting a player in the lineup who has recorded just 2 goals in 20 games. I still keep thinking that this rebuild has hit the bottom, but we just keep getting worse.

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#43 Reg Dunlop
November 26 2013, 09:50AM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Trade Gagner for Erhoff out of Buffalo. Buffalo is starving for offense and is looking to get younger and Gagner provides both. Erhoff is the top pairing defenceman the Oilers need and Arco can fill in at second line centre until whomever they draft this summer is ready. And, its not like the line up gets smaller in the short run since Gagner and Arco aren't that different in size and Arco actually plays a more physical game.

Win all around.

If the price of Erhoff is a 1st, we would have to up the offer to a 1st and a 2nd to get them to take Gagner off our hands. Kind of like first prize being a ticket to see Lady Gaga, second prize being 2 tickets.

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#44 Dave
November 26 2013, 10:02AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Sorry to go off topic, but the news on national TV rights is huge.

CBC retains the Saturday night game and playoffs.

Rogers/Sportsnet gains exclusive broadcast and digital rights to all the rest of the NHL games.

TSN is out.

That is a huge fail for TSN.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes down for the Edmonton radio market.

I certainly miss Spec calling in on Gregor's show.

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#45 Virtual_Xi
November 26 2013, 10:07AM
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oilerjed wrote:

Too bad TSN got left out. While I detest their opinionated rumor mongering panels, I think the production quality of the broadcasts is far superior to CBC. Though I enjoy the Sportsnet coverage, the spotty sound and picture on Centerice Feeds this year is pissing me off a little. It would be awsome if TSN took the playoffs and Saturday games and Sportsnet got the rest.

"In addition, the NHL says the agreement guarantees that there will be no further regionalization of games or local blackouts."

This was as per the story on TSN.ca. That would be pretty sweet! I wonder what that actually entails though...probably just another option to add to your digital cable come next year.

P.S: this is broadcasting karma for letting go of Jay and Dan. Can't remember the last time I watched TSN for their highlights, plus Sportsnet has some real babes!

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#46 Hockey Problems
November 26 2013, 10:07AM
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And with a giant thud, Oil Country comes crashing back to reality. The Oil looked more like their weak, scared to engage selves that have toiled in the NHL sewer for as long as most can remember. Has anybody seen Taylor Hall recently. He must have taken invisible juice again. Somebody feed RNH, he looks weak and fragile. Yakupov ... Can you pull your head out of your ass please and get with the program??

Too soft, unload them all. More worried about the parties and puck bunnies than earning their money. I am losing patience for this bunch of perennial losers. A serious bunch of losers. 7-16-2 is our record and as the saying goes...

same old, same old.

The Edmonton Oilers... A Decade of SUCK !!!

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#47 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 26 2013, 10:10AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Will Acton. I get that Acton's 6'2" but Arcobello kills penalties and wins faceoffs the same way and is the far superior player.

Heaviness, JW, heaviness.

Don't you know that heaviness is what wins games.

We need some Sumo Wrestlers.

Didn't you see Mark Spector say that we were losing last night because we didn't hit Toews enough?

Heaviness.

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#48 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 26 2013, 10:15AM
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Look, guys.

Acton isn't playing on the NHL team because of his Dad. this is absurd.

He's playing for the same reason many NHL teams have terrible 4th lines. They convince themselves they need beefy, useless players there.

Occam's Razor.

Eakins himself has said as much numerous times. He wants heaviness on the 4th line.

That and the absurd "don't tinker with winning" arguments are all you need to explain Acton playing.

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#49 Hockey Problems
November 26 2013, 10:15AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Sorry to go off topic, but the news on national TV rights is huge.

CBC retains the Saturday night game and playoffs.

Rogers/Sportsnet gains exclusive broadcast and digital rights to all the rest of the NHL games.

TSN is out.

That is a huge fail for TSN.

HNIC must have really wanted their theme song back.

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#50 S cottV
November 26 2013, 10:19AM
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Geez - that was an awful performance last night. I know easy to dump on things with 20 20 hindsight, but anyone who has ever coached knows how risky it is to play 4 forwards on the PP, let alone 5. Never liked it - even - when it worked in the short term these past few games. Its not mainstream and very quirky. The defending Stanley Cup champions come into town and you would think that maybe we respect them to the point where we keep at least one d man on the ice for our first PP? But no - lets risk looking stupid and having it jammed up where the sun dont shine - to start things off. Embarrassing to say the least and a dumb unnecessary rookie Coach position to box himself into. Must have something to do with a 4 year contract because if it were 2, I doubt he would be this cavalier.

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