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 RexHolez
November 05 2013, 06:49PM
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Hemsky-RNH-YakCity how does that not make perfect sense?

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#152 DSF
November 05 2013, 07:07PM
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Todd wrote:

Hey DSF - Remember when you said Tambelinni should learn from Dale Talon and that Florida was an example to strive for.

Thoughts now???

The Panthers are broke and once again looking for new owners.

Tallon's hands are pretty much tied.

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#153 WARREN
November 05 2013, 07:40PM
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nhl obamacare

think about it

yeg full house how many straight

fld 20% full

tier 1....fans thank you from fld

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#154 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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#155 jordan starr
November 05 2013, 03:50PM
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http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/edmonton-oilers-managment-group-darryl-katz-enforce-their-message-of-accountability-and-hold-kevin-lowe-responsible-for-this-debacle-of-a-season-either-resigning-or-fired?sign_only=fe

sign the petition if you want change. beats yelling at thr tv and not doing anything about it. the fans will be heard.

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#156 madjam
November 05 2013, 04:34PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Idiocy, mate. Manage your assets!

$5M in cap space and there is a good chance we could open up to fetch a bigger grittier player such as a center or d-man of note .I'd say that's handling your assets responsibly if you feel he's going anyways . However unlikely it might be happening .

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#157 Greg the Hammer Valentine
November 05 2013, 05:01PM
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Gazdic-Acton-Eager... An argument can be made that this is the worst fourth line in the league. One of MacT's offseason promise was to upgrade the bottom 6. So much for that.

GDP: Oilers surprise us with a 2-1 overtime win.

OGDP: The Panthers score first and Eakins looks like a deer in the headlights of a speeding Ford F-150 when it happens.

NSOGDP: Yakupov suffers a season ending injury and becomes untradable in typical Oilers luck.

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#158 Oiler Al
November 05 2013, 05:01PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

"Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and Mark Messier were scouting the Rangers/Ducks game last night"

My question is, why were there no real scouts there? Does that not trouble anyone else?

Because Oilers don't have any real scouts!Oh forgot about Semenko, sorry.

Besides Boys on the Bus out having a $1000 dinner paid for by the loyal fans.

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#159 pkam
November 05 2013, 05:16PM
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HOFFFF wrote:

I find it funny that Eakins takes down all the memories of the Great Oilers, back when the team had pride, pride in the jersey, pride in the city and had an identity. Yet Lowe, Mctavish, Buchberger, Acton, Smith and now Messier are wandering around. Doesn't make sense. Removing the history of the Oilers means they have to find their own identity. It's working out well for them so far. Montreal, Toronto, Boston are all proud teams and proud of their past and have reminders all over the arena and dressing rooms. Reminders that when you put that jersey on that it's time to step the fcuk up. Eakins felt it necessary to remove all that. Now we have a bunch of kids walking around bumping in to each other like a junior team. Just something I see as part of this debacle of epic proportions. I also think having three #1 draft picks and then hiring a coach with zero NHL experience is like buying a brand new sports car and then throwing the keys to a kid with his learners license and saying "take it for a ride and see what she can do!"

In case you don't know the facts, Eakins didn't take down all the memories for the Great Oilers from the arena. He moved them from the locker room to the public area of the arena. It is kind of like when your very successful elder brother moves out of the house and your parents give his room to you, do you think it is reasonable to move all his memorabilias from his room to the family room?

And this offseason, the Toronto Leafs have taken down all their proud memories, not just from the locker room, but from their arena. Their upper management have determined to completely dissociate themselves from their past. I wonder how they can be so good this year without all their proud memories?

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#160 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 06:03PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

I blame Yakupov for that one.

I blame the coach.

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#161 Loweblows
November 05 2013, 06:06PM
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What exactly yakupov doing in the nhl? Whatbdo we have 3 shots? This is like watching paint dry-exciting oiler hockey lol

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#162 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:32PM
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DSF wrote:

A 2nd round pick.

I was thinking the same. A first rounder from a contender (#'s12 through 18) at most.

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#163 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 06:49PM
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spliff wrote:

Great to see Arco and Fedun get their first goals.

But wow are these two sh*te hockey teams.

Definitely both bottom five...

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#164 Oiler Haters
November 05 2013, 07:18PM
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How about my boys now??? Better start jumping back on the bandwagon cause genre we go! Way to go LOWE!

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#165 Oilers rule
November 05 2013, 07:33PM
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NOW THIS IS THE TEAM WE ALL THOUGHT THEY COULD BE. THIS SHOWS HOW ELITE THIS TEAM REALLY IS. IT SHOWS HOW GREAT OUR COACH IS TOO. ALL IS RIGHT IN THE WORLD!!

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#166 Rocket
November 05 2013, 07:42PM
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By my eye, Kulikov has looked pretty good tonight. Some of the other Florida players have looked OK as well. I wonder why they are so bad? Maybe they seem as soft to play against as The Oilers?

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#167 Alsker
November 05 2013, 07:45PM
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Man I hope all the young'ns were watching that awesome dump it out to safety move by Hemmer...why do the simple(right) thing.

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#168 spliff
November 05 2013, 07:46PM
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If the Oilers trade Yak or Hemsky, or whoever, can they please make sure they include Smid in the deal. Please.

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#169 Oilersrule
November 05 2013, 07:58PM
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Oilers sure look good. If they played like this against Detroit, I think they win. Teams like Pittsburgh, Boston, San Jose better watch out...... The Oil are coming!!

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

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

Trade the bum

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#172 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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#173 joshgladu
November 05 2013, 02:06PM
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any trade with NYR should start and end with hagelin. what a hockey player he is. before the mouth breathers talk about size just look at his analytics

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#174 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 04:28PM
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"Whatever happens tonight, the Oiler must show they care."

And if they don't?

Seems to me that that will be on the coach.

Normally I don't comment on the line combos - I am not a hockey tactician. But it seems like an odd setup putting yak with Smyth. Smyth is not a player for a rush offense nor is he a play maker - more a player finisher (or rather used to be..)

Oil should win tonight. The panthers are one of the few teams worse than they are. And even with just 8000 in the stands probably half will be oil fans.

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#175 pkam
November 05 2013, 04:47PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

"Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and Mark Messier were scouting the Rangers/Ducks game last night"

My question is, why were there no real scouts there? Does that not trouble anyone else?

It doesn't border me and why should it trouble anyone?

Can you tell me which trades in the last 3-4 years which involved players coming back and we won?

Our amateur scouts before 2008 were equally bad. Not saying our amateur scouts now are great, but at least I can't complain like I used to with the previous scouts.

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#176 Wax Man Riley
November 05 2013, 06:04PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Watch the game or count the thread count on my wal mart sheets???

Thread count.

It will be much more satisfying.

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#177 Happy
November 05 2013, 06:14PM
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What do people around here think the Oilers could get for Nail Yakupov?

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#178 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 05 2013, 06:15PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

I blame Yakupov for that one.

HORCOFFFFFF!!!!!!!

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#179 DSF
November 05 2013, 07:10PM
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Todd wrote:

"Tallon, like any smart GM, made a bunch of bets. He won them all. (Perhaps excepting Jovanovski). Now, that means he is either very lucky or very smart. Considering his success in Chicago, I'd put my money on the latter."

@DSF Aug 2012

Lose much money on that bet??!?

How is Tambellini doing?

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#180 Bloodsweatandoil
November 05 2013, 07:12PM
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Man......I posted over my coffee this morning with my who cares attitude anymore that I would not watch the next few games.......but I couldn't help it..... that Florida team is losing to that club from Edmonton right now!

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#181 Ari Gold
November 05 2013, 07:40PM
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Wonger wrote:

Let's get a couple thousand people together, pool our cash and buy the Oil off of Katz. Then we will get Gregor to be our President, Brownlee the GM and Strudwick and Sutherby to be co- head coaches! They will blow this mess up and rebuild it into a WINNER!

I would LOVE to be a co-owner!

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#182 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 07:44PM
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Let's not get ahead of ourselves here, Florida is one of like, two teams worse than the Oilers this year. But it feels good knowing the Oil aren't the only ones in the sewer.

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#183 One Who Knows ( deep deep Insider )
November 05 2013, 07:48PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

"Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and Mark Messier were scouting the Rangers/Ducks game last night"

My question is, why were there no real scouts there? Does that not trouble anyone else?

The three CLOWNS in New Yak City were setting up a smoke screen while the real scouts are watching Philly Toronto and Buffalo! All part of the negotiation game!

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#184 argh
November 05 2013, 08:01PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

Bahahaha! Our team sucks so bad!

Eakins had n. Schultz and Petry out in the last minute on the tying goal! Argh!

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