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 Matt Henderson
November 05 2013, 03:17PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

He is a consultant, although the Oilers haven't officially said what his role is.

Special VP of Leaderiness

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#152 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 03:21PM
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So what's Perron's status? I don't remember hearing a time line for his return, and sweet lord I've been missing him.

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#153 bdiddy18
November 05 2013, 04:12PM
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"•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?"

Much like management fans treated the kids - well like kids.

Wasn't the case before..Arnott, Poti, Conklin, Cory Cross, you name it have suffered Oiler Fan Wrath.

Its time to start it up again... Eberle needs to hear it when he tries a toe drag instead of a shot.

Hall with his turnovers . Yakopov with his play on both ends. Justin Shultz with his poor play.

Boys need to become men..and the fans need to stop sheltering them and have them start to hear it! after all Ebs and Hall are multi million dollar players now they need to play like one!

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#154 Dog Train
November 05 2013, 04:17PM
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I was looking for a reason to watch this game so the call-up of Fedun was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting something completely uninteresting like the return of Corey Potter but it's nice to see Fedun finally get the opportunity that fortune stole from him a few years ago. I like an underdog and I hope that Taylor makes the most of his opportunity.

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#155 **
November 05 2013, 04:30PM
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"I've never seen a key Oiler player take as much criticism from the fans as I did Ray. Any idea why that is?"

Someone missed on the Dubnyk-hate storm that's been coming down for the past month.

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#156 vetinari
November 05 2013, 05:46PM
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That arena is really, really... empty???? Is everyone still getting used to the time change?

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#157 Romanus
November 05 2013, 05:49PM
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Wow lots of empty seats. When players don't want to come to northern cities to play, they may want to think twice about where their paycheck comes from. Certainly not from from ticket sales in Florida.

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#158 vetinari
November 05 2013, 05:53PM
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If Florida can have a team with no one in the arena, why can't they get a team in Quebec City? Now that is embarrassing...

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#159 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 05:58PM
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What a laughingly terrible defensive sequence that lead to that goal.

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#160 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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#161 Larry
November 05 2013, 06:19PM
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Happy wrote:

What do people around here think the Oilers could get for Nail Yakupov?

I don't think we'd get a number 1/2 d-man...

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#162 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
November 05 2013, 06:34PM
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Attaboy Arco!

Also: Whitney still sucks.

EDIT: Fedun! What a beauty.

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#163 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:36PM
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That was a lovely moment.

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#164 vetinari
November 05 2013, 06:40PM
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Good for Arcobello. Great for Fedun!

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#165 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 06:52PM
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I almost feel bad for Florida when the Oilers PP dominates them that badly.

Almost.

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#166 Todd
November 05 2013, 07:05PM
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"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??!?

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#167 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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#168 Todd
November 05 2013, 07:19PM
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DSF wrote:

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

Tallon's hands are pretty much tied.

"He has an elite goaltending prospect in Markstrom who appears to be ready for the NHL.

He has three huge young stud defensemen in Kulikov (21), Gudbranson (20) Ellerby (23) who I think you can count on getting better.

He has Huberdeau, Howden, Bjugstad and Robak bubbling under. These are NOT low end prospects like Pitlick, Lander and Chorney.

They are in no way similar to the 07/08 Oilers who didn't have ONE top pairing defenseman (Florida arguably has 3 and that doesn't even include Kulikov or Gudbranson) nor do they have a couple of palookas in net.

They need to add some scoring.

With $30 million in cap space and a ton of prospects to dangle...I'm confident Tallon can get it done.

Watch."

@DSF - June 2012

Man having a permanent record of the sh1t you say must be a hassle....

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#169 Todd
November 05 2013, 07:20PM
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DSF wrote:

How is Tambellini doing?

He is fired thank goodness. Did you miss that??

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#170 Zarny
November 05 2013, 07:31PM
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DSF wrote:

A 2nd round pick.

Good grief.

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#171 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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#172 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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#173 K_Mart
November 05 2013, 07:44PM
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Bad habits crept up again on that play. Hemsky and eberle to blame..

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#174 Tambo4Hire
November 05 2013, 07:45PM
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DSF wrote:

How is Tambellini doing?

I'm doing good thanks!

Lots of time on my hands.

Reeeeaaaalllll quiet here yep.

Phone doesn't ring much.

Like...at all.

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#175 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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#176 Crusty Grit
November 05 2013, 08:03PM
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Ouch...

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

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#178 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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#179 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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#180 2004Z06
November 05 2013, 08:23PM
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Comments are clearly not being moderated here anymore.

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

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#182 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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#183 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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#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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