GDB 17.0: BRACING FOR THE BOLTS

Jason Gregor
November 07 2013 12:06PM

When you are a 28th place team every game is tough. Two days after a 4-3 OT victory over the 27th place Florida Panthers, the Oilers at least have some momentum heading into a showdown with the 10th place Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Oilers, most likely Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry, will have the pleasure of trying to shut down the dangerous duo of Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis. Stamkos is 2nd in NHL scoring with 20 points, while St. Louis is tied for 17th with 16.

Those two have scored 40% of Tampa Bay's goals, and only twice this season have both of them been held pointless. The Bolts lost both games, 3-1 and 5-0, and both losses came against the Bruins.

The Oilers don't have a Zdeno Chara, so it is unlikely the Oilers can shut out Stamkos and St. Louis, but they will need to contain them.

The Bolts have five players with 4+ goals, while the Oilers only have two, Gordon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Twenty different players have scored a goal for the Oilers this year, but they need get a few more players scoring consistently. It is difficult to win regularly without a few go-to players, but the Oilers will get a huge boost as Taylor Hall returns to the lineup.

LINEUP...

Hemsky-RNH-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Yakupov
Omark-Gordon-Arcobello
Jones-Smyth-Gazdic

Hall will play his first game since being injured in Ottawa and Eakins is hoping Hall can jumpstart two struggling players, Gagner and Yakupov. Hall is the best option to do that.

The only aspect of the line juggling that I question is moving Ryan Smyth to centre. Smyth struggled mightily last season playing in the middle. He excels on the wall, not in the middle of the ice. You can't expect him to contribute when he is playing centre.

There is no way you could demote Mark Arcobello or Boyd Gordon to the 4th line. They've arguably been the two most consistent forwards all year. There is no way Eakins could retain respect within the room if you demoted them, yet played struggling players like Yakupov, Gagner, and recently recalled Linus Omark ahead of them in the top-nine.

Smyth at centre has to be a short-term experiment. He is better on the wall.

I'm most interested to see who Eakins will use to try and contain Stamkos and St. Louis. Gordon is his best defensive forward, but with his wingers I'm not sure that is a matchup Eakins wants to run. I'm guessing he'll try to get the RNH line out against them.

Ference-Petry
Smid-Larsen
N.Schultz-Fedun

There is no reason to switch up the D pairs. Petry and Ference are the Oilers best option to face 91/26. I liked Larsen's game in Florida, especially on the PP. Fedun and Schultz won't outmuscle many players, but both play smart, positional defence.

Dubnyk

Tampa Bay is getting solid goaltending. Dubnyk needs to match Ben Bishop's play to give the Oilers a chance. 

YAK SUPPORT....

Yesterday head coach Dallas Eakins and Craig MacTavish made it clear that Nail Yakupov wasn't being shopped.

“Nail Yakupov is not being shopped, he’s not going anywhere and I wanted him to hear that from me, look me in my eye, and let him know that we’re attached at the hip," Eakins said after he had a heart-to-heart chat with Yakupov on the ice in Tampa Bay that had some speculating the first pick in 2012 might be a healthy scratch.

While scouting the Rangers/Pengiuns game, MacTavish said this to the media, "We very much believe Nail will evolve to become that dynamic, electric player — become one of the most entertaining guys in the game. I told that to Igor (Larionov) (Yakupov's agent) and I told that to Yak. Development is very rarely a straight line. It has ups and downs.”

It was smart for the coach to tell a young player who is struggling he believes in him, but the harsh reality of pro sports is that if you aren't performing you likely won't be playing much. Yakupov didn't see the ice for the final 9:30 or regulation, and the 1:55 of OT, while the Oilers were trying, unsuccessfully, to protect a lead.

That isn't surprising, considering he's not a defensive stalwart just yet, but if he continues to sit for long stretches, and continues to struggle offensively, will the Oilers consider a stint in OKC?

MacTavish wisely said development is rarely a straight line. Yakupov isn't the first sophomore to struggle, but due to his age they could let him gain some confidence in OKC. Yakupov has high-end skills, so he could score tonight and no one will worry about his offence, but if his slump continues the Oilers should consider OKC a viable option.

QUICK HITS...

  • Unless they acquire another goalie the Oilers need to stick with Devan Dubnyk. Jason LaBarbera is not going to perform better, so tell Dubnyk he's your guy, and tell him to stay focused the entire game. Challenge him to be consistent.  
     
  • The Oilers have actually played pretty well at ES on the road this year outscoring teams 26-25. They've been decent at ES, but they've been outscored 9-3 on PP. Their PP is only 9.4% on the road. Their PP looked much better in Florida, and if it can get going, they might start to pull out some wins away from Rexall.
     

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Four of the last five games between these two teams in Tampa have ended in 3-2 scores with each team winning twice. In those four games Oilers won, Tampa won, Oilers won and Tampa won, so based on extensive scientific research (none whatsoever) the Oilers continue that trend tonight with a 3-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Omark scores, because Oilersnation thrives on drama/debate.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After opening the Florida broadcast with a muscle shirt and shorts, Mean Gene Principe starts his segment standing along the boards at the zamboni entrance. He does a quick spin-o-rama then walks towards the camera talking about the return of Hall and Omark's recall from OKC. As he gets closer, he tosses it upstairs to two guys who are "classy" and "no joke", Louis Debrusk and Kevin Quinn, and then stares into the camera and drops the mic. BOOM.

** Principe was playing off the words of the Tampa Bay Lightning players after Omark's infamous SO goal on December 10th, 2010, when they whined about his move being a joke and Dan "cancelled my twitter account" Ellis claimed it "wasn't very classy."

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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
Avatar
#51 A-Mc
November 07 2013, 02:28PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers
Old School G wrote:

In regards to our smallish skilled guys getting run all over the rink.

Perron, when healthy, demonstrates nightly how to intimidate the opposition while being the smaller guy in the scrums most of the time. Watch how he does it and act accordingly.

I would love to have 3 or more of this guy. He's the perfect example of how you can be a smaller skilled guy that is a total pest! If we can't get size, hopefully we can get more guys like Perron, the dirty frenchman!

Avatar
#52 bwar
November 07 2013, 02:30PM
Trash it!
14
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Hall Gagner Yakupov? Every time that line hits the ice somebody is scoring. GDP: It's a tight one with The Lightnings top end out powering the Oils in the end 10-9 TB in a thrilling game then ends with a dramatic "classy" SO.

Avatar
#53 Dallylamma
November 07 2013, 02:30PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers
BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull wrote:

The broadcasting crews for radio and TV are so bad that I always watch the opponent's broadcast. It's the only way to keep me sane.

Gene Principe = Buzz Killington

Bob Staufer = Mediterranean Chicken

Principe's schtick is extremely stale at this point. I feel bad for the rest of the guys in the crew because you know Gene spends all day trying out bits on them.

Bob is ok...but ever since he got on the Oilers corporate tit his objectivity is non-existent. He's a totally different guy compared to the Bob of a few years ago who was usually one of the only media voices holding the team accountable.

Avatar
#54 Ignoramus
November 07 2013, 02:41PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
bwar wrote:

Hall Gagner Yakupov? Every time that line hits the ice somebody is scoring. GDP: It's a tight one with The Lightnings top end out powering the Oils in the end 10-9 TB in a thrilling game then ends with a dramatic "classy" SO.

Apparently you didn't watch the end to last season. That line was producing and had chemistry.

Avatar
#55 bwar
November 07 2013, 02:49PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@Ignoramus

I'm not predicting them to play poorly. I'm just saying that it is a high risk, high reward type of line.

Avatar
#56 srbuhr
November 07 2013, 02:50PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

@Ignoramus

Apparently you haven't watched Yak and Gagner play this year.

Avatar
#57 Zarny
November 07 2013, 02:56PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
6rings wrote:

How is it that a #1 pick does not know how to use his teammates? After all the games he's played over the, top notch skill , and all thd coaching he can't look up for an open linemate?

It's not that they can't look up for an open linemate; they're just used to being able to beat 2 or even 3 guys 1 on 1 in junior.

Can't do that in the pros. Even the best players have to play as a unit.

The biggest problem for almost every draft pick is too much junior in their game when they first get into the NHL.

Avatar
#58 Hall's Knee Brace
November 07 2013, 02:57PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

uh oh...Gregor picked the Oil to win predicting 2 wins in a row for the Oil is the kiss of death!

Avatar
#59 Silver Streak
November 07 2013, 03:07PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

whats the story on Pitlick`s knee....

Avatar
#60 The Nuuuuuuuuuuuuge
November 07 2013, 03:08PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

GDP: Don't think the Oilers are able to hold off #91/#26.

Dubnyk will get one or two ugly goals and the Oilers lose 5:3.

Avatar
#61 Taylor Gang
November 07 2013, 03:08PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

Well once Joensuu and Perron get back, our team suddenly looks pretty good up front. Assuming Arco can play at least half as good as he is right now, maybe, JUST MAYBE, we can get this season rolling...

Avatar
#62 A-Mc
November 07 2013, 03:17PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Taylor Gang wrote:

Well once Joensuu and Perron get back, our team suddenly looks pretty good up front. Assuming Arco can play at least half as good as he is right now, maybe, JUST MAYBE, we can get this season rolling...

I agree. I think Joensuu is a big piece. I really liked his game in the few game's he's played.

It's really sucked with out him. I think he brings an element the oilers have almost Zero of.

Avatar
#63 pkam
November 07 2013, 03:30PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Zarny wrote:

Eakins didn't win an AHL championship but had equally as impressive records as Cooper.

So why do you think Cooper would be any better than Eakins?

You don't think Cooper would be trying to get the kids to play 200 ft hockey?

You think the kids would be any better at playing mistake free hockey under Cooper than Eakins?

Not likely.

The Oilers problems aren't coaching. Eakins is a good coach. The young kids simply haven't accepted the fact that all of the top lines have players as good as they are and they can't make mistakes or get caught cheating trying to score goals.

I never say Eakins or Nelson is not a good coach. But Cooper's track record is better.

He joined the Lightnings organization 3 years ago. Norfolk Admirals had missed the playoff 3 years in a row. He lead the Admirals to Calder cup in 2 years, and Admirals had a lot of small and skill forwards which was similar to the Oilers in many ways.

Before he joined the Lightnings, he coached the Green Bay Gamblers in 2008-09 and 09-10. Green Bay was dead last in USHL the year before. He lead them to win the Championship in 09-10.

Tampa finished 2nd last in the East and 3rd last overall last season, they are 2nd in the east at this moment and 1st in their division. How did he do that?

Can he make the kids to play 200 ft hockey? I don't know, perhaps he can.

But one thing no one can deny, he had turned bad teams into championship teams in a very short duration.

Avatar
#64 Alsker
November 07 2013, 03:32PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Seriously, did QSB put the line up together?? Fail or nothing!!! Well Capt Morgan I think we go and find something better to do tonite because this is going to frightful.

Avatar
#65 Wax Man Riley
November 07 2013, 04:04PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
Gordie Wayne wrote:

Gagner should not be playing ahead of Arcobello at this time (especially coming off of a 2 goal game) and Smyth should not be playing center. I would include Gagner on the PP, but until he gets his timing back I would change the lines from:

Hemsky-RNH-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Yakupov
Omark-Gordon-Arcobello
Jones-Smyth-Gazdic

TO:

Hemsky-RNH-Eberle
Hall-Arcobello-Yakupov
Omark-Gordon-Jones
Smyth-Gagner-Gazdic

I like your lines.

Avatar
#66 pkam
November 07 2013, 04:22PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
Zarny wrote:

Because as good as Arcobello has played he's nowhere near a #2 C in the NHL. And depth at C is the Oilers biggest weak spot...which is saying something.

Gagner is physically fit to play or else he wouldn't be dressing. His jaw hurts? So what.

Pretty sure Sid's jaw hurt when he came back too.

This isn't house league.

If I am correct, Sid's injury is classified as moderate and didn't need a surgery. And he was out for about 5 weeks.

Gagner's injury is severe and required a surgery. And you honestly think they will recover to the same state in about the same amount of time?

If I remember correctly, Sid removed his full mask before the conference final, which means he was about 4 weeks from fully heal when he returned.

Last I heard, Gagner has to wear his full mask at least after Christmas, likely until the Olympic break.

Avatar
#67 Mandy
November 07 2013, 04:26PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

Odd how some are referring to Arcibello as an undersized midget in a game against the ultimate midget in St. Louis. Definitely not saying that they're the same player by any means. But St. Louis is coming up on 1000 games and he spent his early career dogged by comments about his size. He's not a big guy, but at least he finishes a check. You don't have to put a guy through the boards to be effective. That's where skating and hockey sense come into play. Position yourself to just ride the guy into the boards. Just take him out of the play. Those small things, you know.

Avatar
#68 Jay Gray
November 07 2013, 04:36PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Pretty sure my roofers knocked my satellite outta schwack. Anyone know where I can stream the game?

Avatar
#69 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 04:44PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

@pkam

I think I remember hearing Sid actually had two surgeries. Either way, comparing Gagner to Crosby is ridiculous, no matter what aspect you're comparing.

EDIT: http://www.businessinsider.com/video-sidney-crosby-lost-hit-in-face-by-a-puck-lost-teeth-and-needed-jaw-surgery-2013-4

One surgery at least.

Avatar
#70 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 04:46PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Jay Gray

If I need a stream, I just Google 'free hockey streams', there are a few websites out there. Be warned, the feeds are generally bush league and it's usually an American broadcast, but at least you'll see the game.

Avatar
#71 Wax Man Riley
November 07 2013, 04:52PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jay Gray wrote:

Pretty sure my roofers knocked my satellite outta schwack. Anyone know where I can stream the game?

http://atdhe.eu/hockey

copy and paste to your bookmarks :)

Avatar
#72 Derian Hatcher
November 07 2013, 04:52PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull wrote:

The broadcasting crews for radio and TV are so bad that I always watch the opponent's broadcast. It's the only way to keep me sane.

Gene Principe = Buzz Killington

Bob Staufer = Mediterranean Chicken

Stauffer is so busy pumping his own tires...."I was the only media guy after 2006 to state that the Oilers needed to tear it down and do a complete rebuild"...."The minute I looked at the schedule, I said the Oilers would get off to a rough start.."...."I played on the same line with Guy Gadowsky with SSAC" ."I said, I said, I said., I , I, I, ..blah blah blah....Bob and KLowe....both seem to know about winning - "if there's ever a concern".

Agree - Bob was much more objective before Rexall boy started signing his cheques. Come on Bob, less about you and what you said and more from qualified guests.

Avatar
#73 Retsinnab5
November 07 2013, 04:53PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull wrote:

The broadcasting crews for radio and TV are so bad that I always watch the opponent's broadcast. It's the only way to keep me sane.

Gene Principe = Buzz Killington

Bob Staufer = Mediterranean Chicken

Thats not very Punny

Avatar
#74 Serious Gord
November 07 2013, 05:01PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

5-2 Tampa. The day off at the beach and a team that actually is NHL caliber puts the oil back where it belongs - in the loss column.

Avatar
#75 Rama Lama
November 07 2013, 05:14PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I do not like Smyth down the middle either..........but DE will blender the lines anyways.

Too bad that Omark has been set-up to fail once again, might as well not play him if he is going to see fourth line minutes.

I suspect that Flubnyk will make some big saves early only to let two softies in late in the game ........just when we need a big save.

GO OIL!

Avatar
#76 Jay Gray
November 07 2013, 05:17PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Thanks JNH and Wax Man for the suggestions…gonna watch at a buddies place I guess….big screen>iMac lol

Avatar
#77 book¡e
November 07 2013, 05:22PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jay Gray wrote:

Pretty sure my roofers knocked my satellite outta schwack. Anyone know where I can stream the game?

Jamie's House!

Avatar
#78 Poolanov
November 07 2013, 05:39PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

What in the name of Gods green earth are they wearing???

Maybe my sattelites out of whack too

Avatar
#79 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 05:54PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Poolanov

Looked like a veterans/military warm up jersey.

Avatar
#80 Wax Man Riley
November 07 2013, 05:56PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Scratch Yak

Avatar
#81 DamnDuby
November 07 2013, 05:57PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Shocker blocker side from the blue line......

Avatar
#82 Alsker
November 07 2013, 05:59PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
DamnDuby wrote:

Shocker blocker side from the blue line......

You forgot to add..down early too...

Avatar
#83 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 06:00PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Holy crap, Fedun. Great dish from Ebs.

Avatar
#84 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 06:00PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The post so nice, it appeared twice.

Avatar
#85 Mikey
November 07 2013, 06:14PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Nick Schultz is brutal. Trade him, keep Fedun. Same player but Fedun is smarter, better offensively and hungrier.

Avatar
#86 Wax Man Riley
November 07 2013, 06:15PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Is it just me, or has it been a better game positionallly for the Oilers?

Avatar
#87 Poolanov
November 07 2013, 06:16PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

100% Ference's fault

Avatar
#88 Jeff Petry
November 07 2013, 06:17PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Poolanov wrote:

100% Ference's fault

It was my fault! I'm a retard and raced over to Ference's side leaving my side wide open for Stamkos to do a wrap! Idiot learn your hockey!

Avatar
#89 Rocket
November 07 2013, 06:18PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

How are The Oilers still so bad at breaking out of their own end? What do they do in practice?

I thought MacT emphasised puck moving defencemen. They should try moving the puck out of their own end first.

Avatar
#90 Poolanov
November 07 2013, 06:18PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

What he has in fitness and work ethic , he seems to lack in intelligence

Avatar
#91 Wax Man Riley
November 07 2013, 06:18PM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Wax Man Riley wrote:

Is it just me, or has it been a better game positionallly for the Oilers?

It's just you, douche.

Avatar
#92 DamnDuby
November 07 2013, 06:19PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Make a save, just any normal average save please.

Avatar
#93 Alsker
November 07 2013, 06:19PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

2 shots for Stamkos, 2 goals. Wonder if he can maintain that shooting%. Not our worst period, we must find a way to keep #91 off the ice. Maybe Omark can pick a fight with him.

Avatar
#94 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
November 07 2013, 06:19PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

That second Stamkos goal was WEAK Devan.

STEP YOUR GAME UP

Avatar
#95 Taylor Hall
November 07 2013, 06:20PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Wax Man Riley wrote:

Scratch Yak

I'm the one that have Yak the weak pass into the skates leading up to the turnover! It was also a suicide pass! I'm an NHL player it should be on the tape clean or don't pass it.

Avatar
#96 Wax Man Riley
November 07 2013, 06:20PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Is anybody else watching the TBay feed?

Commercial after commercial of pharmaceutical companies and war recruiting.

Or maybe it's just me.

Avatar
#97 Poolanov
November 07 2013, 06:21PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Jeff Petry wrote:

It was my fault! I'm a retard and raced over to Ference's side leaving my side wide open for Stamkos to do a wrap! Idiot learn your hockey!

Get a grip loser. Watch the replay. Ference was behind the net and telegraphed a suicide pass that was easily turned over .

Avatar
#98 PoolanovIsStupid
November 07 2013, 06:25PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Poolanov wrote:

Get a grip loser. Watch the replay. Ference was behind the net and telegraphed a suicide pass that was easily turned over .

HE CHASED STAMKOS BEHIND THE NET! THEREFORE PETRY SHOULD HAVE BEEN COVERING HIS SIDE BECAUSE THATS WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING! YOU DON'T KNOW $HIT ABOUT HOCKEY IF YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS THAT!

Avatar
#99 Spydyr
November 07 2013, 06:26PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

Why do some people still think Dubnyk is a starting goalie.What does it take to allow them to see the truth?

Avatar
#100 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 06:27PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Good lord, this comments section went south fast.

Comments are closed for this article.