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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#2 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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#3 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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#4 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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#5 loweblows
November 26 2013, 12:58PM
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future oiler lineup: will acton at center, keegan lowe and simpsons kid on defense, paulina gretzky on wing and some of the kids chris pronger left behind

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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 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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#11 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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#12 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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#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 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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#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 CHRIS
November 26 2013, 07:57AM
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ganger out arcobello in.

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#17 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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#18 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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#19 Smokey
November 26 2013, 11:49AM
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Complete madness Arco sat out so long. No justification.

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#20 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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#21 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 26 2013, 11:41AM
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Gotta say, that was an absolutely filthy deke from Tazer on the shorty last night. Dubnyk may as well have stood in the corner and watched.

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#22 Bucknuck
November 26 2013, 11:05AM
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Amen, JW. I am astonished that he is sitting when he has been so good this year. They better play him, because every minute he's out cries the word "bull$h!t" to Eakins words about earning ice time.

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#23 **
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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#24 Rotten Ron
November 26 2013, 12:08PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Keith Acton hired June 28 2013 Will Acton signed July 5 2013

Contrary to what Stauffer reports on his show this is the timeline.

There were many better options available to the club when he was signed and quite frankly still available now. Outside of the echl Acton hasnt played for a pro coach not named Dallas Eakins. Eakins credits Actons Sr. in getting his assistant role with the Leafs. Is it so hard to believe he would pay him back by hiring him and and his son?

Fact is Will Acton is not an NHL player and at best a 3-4 ahl center, he is as mac t called it a non factor. He is neither heavy or plays heavy, a poor penalty killer, doesnt hit, isnt hard on the forecheck, not good in his own end, not great in the faceoff circle, not fast and doesnt have good hands. What is everyone interested in this team outside oilers staff missing?

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#25 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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#26 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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#27 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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#28 Rama Lama
November 26 2013, 10:47AM
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He does everything asked of him and has a heart as big as Hall. He is not as small as people think I would suggest that his height and weight are incorrect as detailed on the official website.

Until Hemsky gets traded this guy will not get the ice time he deserves.........we must all remember what Eakins said out of both sides of his mouth, " ice time will be earned"!

What a joke!

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#29 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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#30 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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#31 Loweblows
November 26 2013, 08:03AM
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Is Eakins going to shave his win streak beard now?

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#32 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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#33 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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#34 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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#35 Puck_In_Throat
November 26 2013, 02:13PM
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loweblows wrote:

future oiler lineup: will acton at center, keegan lowe and simpsons kid on defense, paulina gretzky on wing and some of the kids chris pronger left behind

umm I'm pretty sure all of Chris Pronger's kids got swallowed.

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#36 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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#37 camdog
November 26 2013, 10:40AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

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.

Acton is on this team because the Oilers are a horrible drafting team. If they had any depth in the organization he would have never been signed.

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#38 HiTs FrOm ThE bONg
November 26 2013, 10:58AM
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After all these years in the toilet someone should flush because the crap keeps piling up. Elite talent ?!? Where ?!? Not seein it. I see a bunch if scared little boys trying to play a game with men. I think I actually saw the Hawks laughing at us last night. Holy Crap !!! That's what we are. A joke. An organization full of crap, waiting for a flush.

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#39 nina russo
November 26 2013, 01:05PM
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Absolutely. Just ANOTHER example of the Eakins learning curve. Any other city he has lost his job already -- Todd Nelson soooooo deserves a shot here.

You want size on your fourth line -- Gazdic-Gordon-Jones. Play them more than 5 minutes a game (say 10-12 minutes); second-shift them after every small line when the grit is needed.

Run three skill lines in between, and you have four lines who can play at any time during the game (short-handed, last minutes of games, etc.) and PRODUCE.

Where do I sign a petition to make Eakins an assistant coach to Todd Nelson????

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#40 Richard
November 26 2013, 12:09PM
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Do results lie?

Why are there so many people who think Edmonton has a lot of potential.

Since 2005 lockout look at Oilers record.

Has reality jumped the shark with Oilers fans?

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#41 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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#42 Jacques Strap
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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 OilCanFan
November 26 2013, 12:51PM
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Not that any of the 5 forward power play has anything to do with this article, but I don't see that short handed goal being anything other than an unlucky play - the defender breaks his stick/fans trying to clear it and so it trickles to the blue line. Yakupov started leaving the zone to retrieve it and when he saw it trickling, he thought he could get to it before Toews. The other "defender" should have fallen back until they had possession instead of also going back into the zone which IS an issue with 5 forwards. Yakupov should just have tripped/tackled Toews before he broke past.

Nobody expected the Oilers to win last night, what was expected was a much better effort. Arcobello at least puts out the effort and at this point, I'm fine sitting just about anyone to put in a bit of heart.

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#47 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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#48 S cottV
November 26 2013, 12:10PM
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michael wrote:

I must be an apologist also then. Because I was not expecting the Oilers to win last night either. Must be some kind of reality disease. Like as in we live in a reality where the Hawk's are the SCC and the Oilers are a 29 th place team who are still trying figure out their heads from their buttholes. Maybe. Maybe in 2 years we'll be able to "expect" the Oilers to win a game against the Hawks.

BTW. Do you think that putting 5 forward against that Hawk PK was a wise idea? Especially when JT is matched up against Yakupov on the point. Canada's Olympic captain vs Yakupov. I know who I would take everyday of the week. JT school Yak and off he went on a breakaway. The end result was a goal. Who would of thought that was going to happen. The coach of the Hawks that's who.

I expect better coaching from Eakins. That was not it last night. Out of his league lat night and it showed.The team and Eakins have a lot to learn. You think?

I thinks - we know. It was a brutal Rookie Coach move to put 5 forwards out at that point. Doesnt matter that this quirky move worked in a game or two vs also ran hockey clubs. It's the Chicago Black Hawks - Stanley Cup Champions. Its the start of a big game to continue a winning streak vs a real hockey club. You are at home - you get a break and an early PP opportunity. A good start is essential and even a decent pp that generates some chances and doesnt score sends a message we are here to play tonight. So - what's he do? What 29 out of 30 NHL Coaches wouldnt do - play 5 forwards on the PP - with Yak in the back!

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#49 Smokey
November 26 2013, 12:48PM
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Dave240 wrote:

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...

TSN had the best product and analysts, just not the best bid. I could care less really who got what, but Bob McKenzie should sign on with CBC and replace Grapes. No one can fill the proverbial old shoes of that wonderful old bastard should they try, but Bobbymac is the premier analyst in the business because he's knowledgeably and frankly he needs to be on network that has hockey. So what the heck does this mean for TSN? Hockey is quintessential in the fabric of Canadian Society. I also wonder how much their shares fell this morning, I should of bought stock in Sportsnet I guess.

The big "BUTT," in all this was how the CBC retain rights with all the cutbacks. I guess they found money, cause without HNIC, CBC is dead. Hopefully they can afford better people then Hrudey, Stock, Healy, Weekes, Mark Lee, cause they got the worst guys. Without MacLean and Grapes its unbearable. I watch only Grapes and the broadcast. No point to the pregame or intermissions. Hotstove was systematically destroyed by Healy, and why the heck is Stock on TV. The guy has no clue, can't talk, is not compelling, and obviously has post concussion syndrome.

Avatar
#50 S cottV
November 26 2013, 10:19AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

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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