GDB 16.0: JUST SHOW UP...

Jason Gregor
November 05 2013 11:59AM

It won't matter what the line combinations are if the Oilers elect to sleep walk through tonight's game like they did Saturday vs. the Detroit Red Wings. Hockey fans, coaches and players can accept losing, as long as you put forth an effort, but the Edmonton Oilers barely registered a pulse vs. the Wings.

Whatever happens tonight, the Oiler must show they care.

I watched the game on Saturday with some diehard Oilers fans and they were distraught during and after the game. These are fans, like many of you, who buy tickets, jerseys and have supported the Oilers through seven years of sucking. They love hockey, and as long as the Oilers put forth an effort that satisfies most of you.

What you saw on Saturday was pathetic.

The Oilers showed no desire. Not one player looked remotely annoyed that they were getting embarrassed in front of their home fans and on national TV.

I rarely will say players don't care, because you don't make it to the best league in the world without caring, but on Saturday night their "care meter" barely registered.

It is obvious this team lacks confidence right now. No one is shooting the puck with any authority, and it seems most players are scared to make a mistake. The harsh reality is that no other team is going to feel sorry for them. If they want to start winning, they simply need to roll up their sleeves and compete.

GOOD NEWS...

They did lose another player to injury on Saturday, Anton Belov, but two Oilers will return to the lineup tonight.

Devan Dubnyk's ankle has healed and he'll make his first start since October 24th. Dubnyk is the best goalie they have, and the Oilers must be hoping he can make some big saves early and inject some confidence into a lineup that looks beaten down.

Ryan Smyth also returns after injuring his groin vs. the Senators on October 19th. At this point in his career, Smyth isn't a go-to guy, but he at least knows how to play hard and go to the net. The Oilers need more guys willing to do the small things, if they ever hope to start winning.

They have to realize that they can't beat teams with skill. You need more than just skill to win in the NHL.

LINEUP....

Hemsky-RNH-Eberle
Smyth-Gagner-Yakupov
Jones-Gordon-Arcobello
Gazdic-Acton-Eager

Eakins moved Yakupov back to the right side with the hope he'll be more comfortable and start producing. With Smyth on his wing, Yakupov is clearly the shooter on that line, and if he uses his heavy shot, while Smyth stands in front, the Oilers might get an ugly goal or two.

Ference-Petry
Smid-Larsen
N.Schultz-Fedun

Eakins has three new pairings. Taylor Fedun will make his NHL debut, and every fan is pulling for him to complete an incredible comeback story. Smid and Petry haven't looked in sync for a few games, so it can't hurt splitting them up.

As I stated earlier, the pairings won't matter if the Oilers don't play with passion.

We can discuss the system, the line combinations, which wing Yakupov is playing or many other aspects of this team, but ultimately if they don't play with desire or passion it won't matter.

Remember when the Oilers of 1997-2004 had little proven talent, yet they managed to be competitive. Why?

Because they had players like Ethan Moreau, Todd Marchant, Jason Smith, Mike Grier, Steve Staios, Ryan Smyth and others who played hard. They weren't the most skilled team, but the worked their ass of every night. This team has more natural skill, but if they don't work hard, or work smart, it is irrelevant.

If the Oilers show a willingness to compete tonight, they will have a shot at beating a team that isn't very good.

QUICK HITS...

  • Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and Mark Messier were scouting the Rangers/Ducks game last night, and since it is safe to assume they weren't watching Dustin Penner, it seems likely they were watching the Rangers. The Rangers, like the Oilers, are struggling and the Rangers need offence. Rick Nash is still suffering concussion-like symptoms and he isn't close to returning, so the Rangers will be looking for some offensive help.

    Ales Hemsky's name has come up again, and so has Nail Yakupov. A deal involving Hemsky would likely have the Oilers eating part of his salary, since the Rangers don't have much cap space, and no one they would trade that is close to $5 million cap hit.

    If a deal involved Yakupov, then we are looking at a major trade, and I'd guess Ryan McDonagh would need to be involved. The Oilers are in no rush to move Yakupov, but to even consider it; they would need a solid D-man coming to Edmonton. McDonagh is a $4.7 cap hit until the end of the 2018/2019 season.
     
  • It is interesting to notice the difference between Eskimo fans and Oilers fans, many of whom are the same people. Many Eskimos fans ripped Ricky Ray and wanted him traded, yet in hockey most of the venom is directed towards the coach or GM. I've never seen a key Oiler player take as much criticism from the fans as I did Ray. Any idea why that is?
     
  • The Oilers couldn't have asked for a better place to start their road trip than in Florida. The Oilers have won their last four meetings in Florida dating back to 2003 and they've outscored them 13-6.
     
  • If you need some positives to convince you to watch tonight's tilt:

    Dubnyk has a career .963 SV% and 0.93 GAA vs. the Panthers.
    Ben Eager has four goals vs. the Panthers, the most he's scored against any team.
    Ryan Jones has two goals in three career games vs. Florida.
    Smyth has 21 points in 18 career games vs. the Panthers.
    The odds are good one Oiler will register their first career goal vs. Florida tonight: Acton, Arcobello, Eberle, Fedun, Ference, Gagner, Gazdic, Larsen, Nugent-Hopkins, Petry, Smid and Yakupov have never scored a goal vs. the Panthers.

CRYSTAL BALL....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Just when you think you are about to stop caring, the Oilers will find a way to draw you back in with a 3-1 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers play better than they did on Saturday. ***Really bold prediction.***

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fedun scores his first NHL goal. Right now the Oilers and their fans need a beacon of hope. Something to make them believe this 87-month losing drought will eventually end. That's right; you've just entered your 87 months of losing hockey since September, 2006. You need something to make you believe their is hope, and if a local boy, who shattered his leg two years ago can score in his NHL debut, then damn rights the Oilers can eventually return to the land of winning.

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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#151 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 08:01PM
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Dubnyk strikes Again. Last two were his fault.

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#152 rectal place
November 05 2013, 08:03PM
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Dubnyk straight to his knees on the goal again... Must think the puck is a c0ck.

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#153 Oilers rule
November 05 2013, 08:03PM
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HEY..... THE OILERS SHOWED UP.... JUST LIKE THE FANS IN FLORIDA!!

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#154 Jakethesnake
November 05 2013, 08:03PM
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Just once this f..no goalie needs to make a big save. Wow

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#155 Crusty Grit
November 05 2013, 08:03PM
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Ouch...

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#156 Johnnydapunk
November 05 2013, 08:04PM
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There were no winners in that game...

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#157 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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I keep waiting for Arcobello to falter but he keeps getting better. He's a real smart player. I'm totally sold on this guy as our second line centre. I can live with trading Gagner and Yak for the right pieces.

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#158 Zarny
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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It's Aliiiive!

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#159 Homer
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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I feel like congratulating the Oilers like congratulating a 4 year old that learns how to ride a bike....... Kind of pathetic!!

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#160 Hey Big Mouth Jerk
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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FLORIDAPANTHERSRULE wrote:

oioo

We beat your Panthers....hahaha..........!!! LOSER!

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#161 ubermiguel
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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Arco!!! He's tied for the lead in Oilers scoring right now. Yikes.

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#162 spliff
November 05 2013, 08:08PM
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Arco wins it in OT. Very fitting, he totally outplays the player he was brought in to replace (Gagner). Samwise absolutely sucked tonight. Two very weak checking efforts on two FLA goals, plust a weak-ass shot on the PP in OT. Hopefully Messier, the newly hired President of Effort Assurance, will "have a talk" with Sammy and this won't happen again.

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#163 DSF
November 05 2013, 08:08PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

Arco!!! He's tied for the lead in Oilers scoring right now. Yikes.

It's quite sad actually.

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#164 outdoorzguy
November 05 2013, 08:10PM
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I thought we won the Stanley Cup tonight based on the announcers reaction!! We're still a really crappy team though. That was really an embarrassment.

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#165 Jakethesnake
November 05 2013, 08:10PM
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Get a goalie and keep arco and get rid of gags.

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#166 Rheal1
November 05 2013, 08:11PM
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OLE OLE OLE OLE

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#167 outdoorzguy
November 05 2013, 08:12PM
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Hey Big Mouth Jerk wrote:

We beat your Panthers....hahaha..........!!! LOSER!

Really?? Too much of this stuff going on here. I'm off this site. Bye bye!!!

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#168 Todd
November 05 2013, 08:15PM
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DSF wrote:

It's quite sad actually.

Who is leading your mancrush Tallon's team? Quite sad.

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#169 2004Z06
November 05 2013, 08:23PM
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Comments are clearly not being moderated here anymore.

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#170 vetinari
November 05 2013, 08:27PM
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45 more wins and we might make the playoffs!

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#171 Ari Gold
November 05 2013, 08:35PM
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The Oilers looked pathetic and disinterested again. Fortunately they played a team that was less than half of the Wings team they played a few nights ago.

Pathetic turnovers. Poor goaltending. No skating. AHL personnel scoring. Our highest paid players playing the worst.

Watching the Wings play, they had talent, hard work, effort to buy-in to the system. They had everything I could want in a team except one thing, they weren't the Oilers. I love/hate this team.

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#172 Batfink
November 05 2013, 08:38PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

There were no winners in that game...

I looked this up, and according to the rules, whomever scores first in OT wins the game. So we're the winners...

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#173 Naky
November 05 2013, 08:48PM
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So many people saying trade Gagner. Do some research at least, sheesh. He has a NTC for two years. It doesn't officially kick in until next year but they have a gentleman's agreement to uphold it. You hate this management? You'll hate it more if they break that agreement since the word will spread quite quickly through the PA that the Oilers management doesn't uphold their promises.

Gagner's here to stay for two more seasons. Deal with it.

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#174 sizedoesmatter
November 05 2013, 08:48PM
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DSF wrote:

It's quite sad actually.

What's sad about a player working his bag off to lead the team

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#175 bazmagoo
November 05 2013, 08:51PM
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It's official, Sam Gagner is the new GOAT in Oil country. I used to like Gags, but -6 in his first three games back with an abysmal face off percentage yet again. Come on dude, WTF! Said a few weeks back and I'll say it again - Arcobello is already an improvement. Step it up Sammy!

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#176 Craig1981
November 05 2013, 08:56PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

It's official, Sam Gagner is the new GOAT in Oil country. I used to like Gags, but -6 in his first three games back with an abysmal face off percentage yet again. Come on dude, WTF! Said a few weeks back and I'll say it again - Arcobello is already an improvement. Step it up Sammy!

You are changing your opinion based on 3 games after he has came back early from a major surgery. Disappointing.

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#177 Stack Pad Save
November 05 2013, 09:51PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

You are changing your opinion based on 3 games after he has came back early from a major surgery. Disappointing.

Gagner has always been my GOAT.

I don't know what people see in him. He goes 10-20 game stretches of complete ineptitude and than has a game with a fight or scores 8 points and all the band wagon jumpers go look, isn't Gagner great! And than........ 20 more games of ineptitude.

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#178 Stack Pad Save
November 05 2013, 09:52PM
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@Naky

Trade the bum

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#179 Chainsawz
November 05 2013, 09:53PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

C'mon, that Oiler lineup is mostly AHL caliber. Oil put in a better effort but they're still a free space on the Panthers bingo card tonight. Oilers will atleast score a goal this evening, Barkov gains some confidence with a 3 pt night..... 5-1 Florida.

Taylor flippin Fedun......is that all they have in reserve during these difficult times?

Stay the course Oilersnation, tankage certainly appears to be on the Oils agenda. And i'm fine with that.

Taylor flipping Fedun indeed

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#180 Stack Pad Save
November 05 2013, 09:54PM
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@Chainsawz

I can't tell if Ballet has his tutu in a bunch and is being sarcastic or if he actually wants a tank job.

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#181 Naky
November 05 2013, 10:29PM
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@Boys On the Bus Out of Town

That will surely improve Edmonton's standing with the rest of the players, you know, because we have so many things going for us already - a championship team, great weather all year round, a state of the art rink, competent management. Yeah, I agree, let's ship him off and consequences be damned. After all, everyone wants to play here... and for pennies too!

I'll have whatever you're having dude, pass it over.

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#182 David S
November 05 2013, 10:53PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

Gagner has always been my GOAT.

I don't know what people see in him. He goes 10-20 game stretches of complete ineptitude and than has a game with a fight or scores 8 points and all the band wagon jumpers go look, isn't Gagner great! And than........ 20 more games of ineptitude.

38 points in 48 games last year gives you a 65 point/82 equivalent player WITH the traditional Gagner slow start and mandatory dry spell.

Yeah. A TOTAL failure.

Now he's two games back and probably still shouldn't be playing. It's pretty obvious he still can't take much force to the face and he can't check as a result. All this and it'll take him at least a half dozen games to get his sea legs back and adjust to a full visor.

If anything we could use three or four more of those types of guys. Kid has more guts in his pre-game poo than most of us posting up here ever had.

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#183 Reg Dunlop
November 05 2013, 11:20PM
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@David S

If you have ANY guts in your stool, see a gastroenterologist. As for Gagner, 1 is plenty as he couldn't check before he was forced into the full visor. Arcobello is an upgrade at 1/5 the cost.

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#184 bazmagoo
November 05 2013, 11:53PM
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@David S

Ok everyone is making good points about Gags being injured and not being able to check and take full contact. If that is the case, then why the frig is he playing center when Arcobello has been doing well at that position? Center's need to be somewhat defensively reliable. And why the pooop is he playing in the first place if he can't take full contact and check? Grrrr, come on Oilers step it up!

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