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 

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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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#251 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:34PM
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MKE wrote:

I'm not the one trolling a website for a team I don't even like :)

On a daily basis no less.

DSF's got some suppressed Oilers anxiety. I think he's a Canucks fan who had to blow his step dad after every Edmonton win in the 80's.

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#252 MKE
November 07 2013, 10:35PM
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@bazmagoo

That would explain alot

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#253 TRAV
November 07 2013, 10:35PM
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@acg5151

Today the Nucks are better. Obviously.

Historically the Oilers have far more of a storied franchise.

As a Flames fan we try hard but aren't very good now and have that lone 89 cup to hold onto..

I really thought this might be the Oilers year. At the very least I thought that they'd be exciting to watch. Would love to get back to some great battle of Alberta days. At least we can agree that everyone HATES the Canucks!

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#254 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:38PM
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DSF wrote:

My mom died 10 years ago.

And Xbox's are so passé.

And, I'm really busy.

Couldn't care less than your mom died 10 years ago dude, get a life. My parents both died 5 years ago, I don't expect random strangers to pity me and excuse me for being a douche bag because of it.

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#255 Serious Gord
November 07 2013, 10:41PM
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Harlie wrote:

And how many years did the Canucks wallow in the quagmire until they got competitive? It was from Richard Brodeur until the Sedin twins and they still ain't got a cup. Some could say that they are the one's that are cursed.

At least we have had the cup. Many times at that.

I prefer not to cling to past glory but rather work on attaining future glory. Otherwise you become France or Greece - a doormat.

Someone needs to explain this to oilers management.

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#256 MKE
November 07 2013, 10:41PM
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Is this the point where we start hoping the Oilers give in and finally see they need to give up Omark if they ever hope to get Webber? #omark4webberstraightup

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#257 hankthetank
November 07 2013, 10:41PM
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@bazmagoo

wow, thanks for keeping things clean. high class comments for sure...

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#258 Romanus
November 07 2013, 10:41PM
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DSF wrote:

You follow the Oilers?

Get a life.

Your the one trolling on an oiler fan site every day. You may need to look in the mirror to find out who needs a life.

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#259 MKE
November 07 2013, 10:44PM
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@Serious Gord

But nothing is ever good enough for you.

You were the guy in the 80's picking out the flaws in those teams while they were winning cups.

MacT isn't a moron. I'm 100% sure he doesn't want to have a team that sucks year to year

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#260 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:50PM
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#1 - Eakins needs to go, bring back Ralph!

#2 - Chemistry isn't right on the team, too much offense not enough defense. Need to get a legitimate top 4 defense, Ference and Belov aren't legit top 4 guys, Smid and Petry are #3-4 d-guys. Justin Schultz should have been playing bottom pairing minutes from the start of the season, I've been saying it for a month now. I wonder if the #1 pick where they got Yakupov was a bit of a curse. Ryan Murray playing 20 minutes a night in Columbus with a solid rating. Love Yak though, but somethings got to change with the team chemistry.

#3 - Fire Lowe, Messier in as President Of Hockey Operations!

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#261 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:57PM
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I don't really get how Eakins get's a free pass by a lot of people. The guy hasn't won anything as a coach, but for some reason he was the "hot" commodity in the coaching market. Only the Oilers would fire a coach who took Switzerland from nothing on the world hockey scene to a legitimate contender, to hire an AHL coach who's never coached a championship team in his ENTIRE CAREER. And I was a big critic of Ralph, but at least we showed improvement. *edit* And he had 48 or so games of NHL experience, versus 0.

Fire Lowe! Fire them all!

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#262 hockeycrazed
November 07 2013, 11:00PM
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If Oil can out-shoot first place Lightnings and lost, I think I am not as disappointed as they got shut out back to back games to the Leafs and Red Wings. As usual, if the opposing Goal keep plays for the Oilers, they would have won the game tonight, we'll not be sitting here bashing the Oilers! I just hope I am not the only person to see that, is all!!!

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#263 Johnnydapunk
November 07 2013, 11:02PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I prefer not to cling to past glory but rather work on attaining future glory. Otherwise you become France or Greece - a doormat.

Someone needs to explain this to oilers management.

I'm asking not sarcastically but I'm genuinely confused by what you mean by calling France and Greece doormats? I am not sure if you are referring to sport or anything else?? No offence intended, just baffled actually.

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#264 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 11:02PM
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hankthetank wrote:

wow, thanks for keeping things clean. high class comments for sure...

Sorry guys, just a little annoyed this DSF character still comes on here every day. Just trying to have one night without the C.

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#265 Ari Gold
November 07 2013, 11:17PM
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@Gregor

Some of these comments are in serious need of moderation.

On another note, Yak made a great play to get the puck to Gordo who was stoned by Bishop in the last 3 mins. Great hustle and good on him to out-muscle the dman. I think Gordo looked great from what I saw in the 3rd.

How did Omark look?

Hemsky is a giveaway machine! Seriously. So much upside and downside all at the same time. I blame past coaching for not whipping him into shape.

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#266 Johnnydapunk
November 07 2013, 11:19PM
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MKE wrote:

I could be wrong but I think he's on a two way deal. But he's someone i'd love to have on my team. But I don't think he's the guy the ducks would move

The ducks are in a interesting position as they only have Perry, Getzlaf, and Fowler on long term deals so, they have a lot of cap space to play with. I'm sure they are gonna offload one goalie before the trade deadline, but I would think that they will also wait a bit to see if Fasth and Andersen can be the ones to carry them forward as they are both signed for next season and Hiller will be quite expensive to resign.

If I remember correctly there will be a lot of Number 1 goalies on the free agent market this summer, will be interesting.

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#267 Cold
November 07 2013, 11:38PM
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@wanye

How long will the mods allow dsf to troll this site and derail conversations?

I may have to go to the other oil site

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#268 Cynic
November 07 2013, 11:58PM
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Aaaaah. Did DSF huht yo widdo feewings?

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#269 Walter Sobchak
November 08 2013, 12:11AM
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Dubnyk is some kind of bad! Awful! He's an overrated hack! A back up goalie who single handily lost the Oilers another game.

So after the Oilers lose to one more weak eastern team they get to start playing the western conference teams..........This is where you get to see just how bad the Oilers are.

If you think this has been tough to watch, just wait till the Oilers start playing SJS, STL, LA , VAN, CHI on a regular basis.

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#270 jbogus
November 08 2013, 01:27AM
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Hey mates just finished another session thanks to another L, thanks oil. Raining now and spewing I just washed car by hand anyhow, dipsh@t toe drag Hall thanks for your continued selfishness et al, you wankers.

Honestly our beer hockey has more heart and accountability.

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#271 MessyEH!
November 08 2013, 01:41AM
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Doobies career sent him a "Dear John letter."

After that 3rd goal tonight, It has decided to move on.

Also, I think Eberle needs to be traded. Buy low, sell high. He will never be worth more than he is now.

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#272 justDOit
November 08 2013, 01:44AM
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Did Some Fungi

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#273 Serious Gord
November 08 2013, 02:40AM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

I'm asking not sarcastically but I'm genuinely confused by what you mean by calling France and Greece doormats? I am not sure if you are referring to sport or anything else?? No offence intended, just baffled actually.

In WW2 France put up little resistance in the nazis march to the Atlantic, while Greece was the similar scenario going east... ( doormats)France was glorying in its Napoleonic zenith while Greece was - and still does - talks about how great it was a couple of millenia ago. And the way this rebuild is going, it will be few millenia before the oil gets the cup...

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#274 Serious Gord
November 08 2013, 02:48AM
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MKE wrote:

But nothing is ever good enough for you.

You were the guy in the 80's picking out the flaws in those teams while they were winning cups.

MacT isn't a moron. I'm 100% sure he doesn't want to have a team that sucks year to year

Actually I'm the guy who argued that the oil in the eighties were the greatest and most dominant team in the history of hockey - a far more capable team than Mtl in the fifties - there should have been more than five cups except for an own goal and a illiquid owner. And that unlike the Cdns of the 50s the oil had a true rival and foil - cgy flames - to test their mettle.

What really ticks me off in the present mess is that there is some fantastic talent on this team that is being squandered and possibly damaged and stunted by epically inept management and ownership. They deserve better. And the fans deserve better.

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#275 N4R
November 08 2013, 02:54AM
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Edmonton Oilers vs Tampa Bay Lightning (07.11.2013) http://prognoz-na-sport.info/news/skachat_match_edmonton_oilers_vs_tampa_bay_lightning_nhl_2013_2014_regular_season_07_11_2013/2013-11-08-7290

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#276 Cynic
November 08 2013, 02:58AM
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In other words, you were the typical spoiled, myopic, deluded Oiler fan. Which under-nourished winger are you hoping to draft in the Top 3 this year?

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#277 Rheal1
November 08 2013, 04:19AM
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I have the solution for change, fellow Oilers fans! You deserve better! Do not go watch games at Rexall Do not buy merchandising. Do not watch games on TV. Katz is happy: as a businessman, his coffers stay full with all the money he sucks out of Oilers suckers. He is happy: he makes money. His bottom line is great therefore the team is doing just fine. Boycott the Oilers now!!!

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#278 mayorblaine
November 08 2013, 06:06AM
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go stats!

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#279 Loweblows
November 08 2013, 06:51AM
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Can we get rid of smid now-and when can our goalie make the big save? Sorry but DD is not winning this team any games?

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#280 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 08 2013, 07:38AM
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Dubbie misses Horcoff.

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#281 Fresh Mess
November 08 2013, 07:40AM
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MKE wrote:

Gord lets face it. This team needs to become much better. But even if this team was contending, you would still find a way to suck all the fun out of it.

Enjoy life sometimes :). It's good for you

I thought this was a site for HOCKEY fans to discuss the Oilers. Apparently you feel it should remain a giant circle jerk of delusional Oiler superfans and other assorted enablers to fantasize.

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#282 PapaMike
November 08 2013, 08:07AM
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Florida just cleaned house and fired all coaches.

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#283 CaptainLander
November 08 2013, 08:10AM
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Goaltending is broken, MacT have you seem the goalie depth in Anaheim? Please make a move I would rather see the Oil lose with a 20 year old John Gibson, then a 27 year 3.7 mil failed experiment. Or how about that Anderson guy,? Fasth? Hiller?

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#284 Slats
November 08 2013, 08:29AM
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PapaMike wrote:

Florida just cleaned house and fired all coaches.

at least the Oilers can say they impacted something in the NHL this season!

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#285 Serious Gord
November 08 2013, 08:37AM
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PapaMike wrote:

Florida just cleaned house and fired all coaches.

They beat the oil to it?

With several teams struggling - and several if them having postponed making changes last year due to the strike/lockout - and the unique cap restrictions in this year preventing much in the way of trades, we can expect lots of action in the management ranks.

Likely to be conspicuous in not making any changes will be the oil, though they probably need change more than any other team.

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#286 boxman
November 08 2013, 08:37AM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Couldn't care less than your mom died 10 years ago dude, get a life. My parents both died 5 years ago, I don't expect random strangers to pity me and excuse me for being a douche bag because of it.

Wow, a new low for the site. Bazmagoo how do you leap from Oilers fan to I couldn't care less your mom died. DSF is certainly a troll but in my memory he has never sunk as low as you Basmagoo. Shame on you!!

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#287 Oiler Al
November 08 2013, 08:53AM
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Interesting , Eakin loses and says they played a pretty good game, Tampa wins and their coach says they played a poor game.

The real point is that Dubby sucked the big banna again, and Bishop outplayed him 2 to 1.

Dont know if this is good news or bad, but Nuge was on the ice for all six goals.

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#288 camdog
November 08 2013, 08:58AM
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CaptainLander wrote:

Goaltending is broken, MacT have you seem the goalie depth in Anaheim? Please make a move I would rather see the Oil lose with a 20 year old John Gibson, then a 27 year 3.7 mil failed experiment. Or how about that Anderson guy,? Fasth? Hiller?

Why would the Ducks help the Oilers out after what we did to them with Justin Shultz and Dustin Penner? The reality is no other organizations are going to help us out. Other organizations feel that Lowe/Katz's plan to intentionally nose dive to get high draft picks was a joke. They love us losing, there is no help coming without a massive over pay.

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#289 Clarko
November 08 2013, 09:12AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Dubnyk is some kind of bad! Awful! He's an overrated hack! A back up goalie who single handily lost the Oilers another game.

So after the Oilers lose to one more weak eastern team they get to start playing the western conference teams..........This is where you get to see just how bad the Oilers are.

If you think this has been tough to watch, just wait till the Oilers start playing SJS, STL, LA , VAN, CHI on a regular basis.

Ya...the atrocious giveaways with almost no Tampa pressure on either of the first two goals had nothing to do with the loss...

Giveaways, poor defensive zone play, and bad goaltending have led to this team's demise...not just goaltending.

And Edmonton is also 22nd in the league in scoring...although I'm sure we can somehow blame that on Dubnyk as well.

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#290 Lochenzo
November 08 2013, 09:19AM
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camdog wrote:

Why would the Ducks help the Oilers out after what we did to them with Justin Shultz and Dustin Penner? The reality is no other organizations are going to help us out. Other organizations feel that Lowe/Katz's plan to intentionally nose dive to get high draft picks was a joke. They love us losing, there is no help coming without a massive over pay.

I don't think most organizations care what the Oilers do outside of the opportunity to improve their own franchise or improve their chances of winning the Cup.

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#291 Rob...
November 08 2013, 09:23AM
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11 games last night and in 9 of them the winning team scored 3 or more goals. As pissed as I am that Dubnyk let in 3 goals last night, I guess he is an average goalie.

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#292 camdog
November 08 2013, 09:25AM
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Clarko wrote:

Ya...the atrocious giveaways with almost no Tampa pressure on either of the first two goals had nothing to do with the loss...

Giveaways, poor defensive zone play, and bad goaltending have led to this team's demise...not just goaltending.

And Edmonton is also 22nd in the league in scoring...although I'm sure we can somehow blame that on Dubnyk as well.

You can add poor coaching. Why on earth was Yaks on that second line with Gags to start the game. Stamkos must have been licking is chops, knowing full well that his coach was going to take that line match to the bank. Why on earth would any coach set up a young developing player to go head to head with the best sniper in the world, knowing full well what was going to happen. Maybe Eakins is trying to teach Yaks a lesson or two, but that is painful to watch, when you know exactly how it is going to turn out. I guess Yaks crying about not playing with skilled players has helped him get some more minutes, but it sure hasn't helped the team win games.

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#293 PapaMike
November 08 2013, 09:28AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

They beat the oil to it?

With several teams struggling - and several if them having postponed making changes last year due to the strike/lockout - and the unique cap restrictions in this year preventing much in the way of trades, we can expect lots of action in the management ranks.

Likely to be conspicuous in not making any changes will be the oil, though they probably need change more than any other team.

I think that there will be some changes at the trade deadline and not before then. I would like to see how they play with a full staff if that is even possible. If they compete like they did yesterday at least it would be fun to watch.

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#294 Serious Gord
November 08 2013, 09:37AM
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PapaMike wrote:

I think that there will be some changes at the trade deadline and not before then. I would like to see how they play with a full staff if that is even possible. If they compete like they did yesterday at least it would be fun to watch.

As I stared earlier, I think that Tampa is playing over its head - they aren't as good as their record implies. So even with a full roster, against the true elite teams. - all of which are in the west save Pitt - the oil is going to lose and lose badly most nights.

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#295 Lochenzo
November 08 2013, 09:42AM
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Some of you guys are sure on the Ben Bishop parade. Bishop has some very good numbers this year, no disputing that. Funny thing is that they mirror the numbers that Dubnyk posted last year. And what's your opinion on Dubnyk?

Two real bad turnovers when I'm sure the message going into the game was to absolutely not turn over the puck with Stamkos or St Louis on the ice.

The Oilers were chasing the Lightning on the scoreboard as a result and that's not how you win games.

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#296 loweblows
November 08 2013, 09:46AM
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the oilers offered jones in a deal for bishop but Ottawa preferred conacher-couldnt mac t have sweetened the pot a little more to get bishop?

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#297 loweblows
November 08 2013, 09:48AM
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Lochenzo wrote:

Some of you guys are sure on the Ben Bishop parade. Bishop has some very good numbers this year, no disputing that. Funny thing is that they mirror the numbers that Dubnyk posted last year. And what's your opinion on Dubnyk?

Two real bad turnovers when I'm sure the message going into the game was to absolutely not turn over the puck with Stamkos or St Louis on the ice.

The Oilers were chasing the Lightning on the scoreboard as a result and that's not how you win games.

Bishop made the big save that some Edmonton writers feel that no goalie "dead or alive could make". Bishop must be dead.

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#298 camdog
November 08 2013, 09:49AM
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Lochenzo wrote:

Some of you guys are sure on the Ben Bishop parade. Bishop has some very good numbers this year, no disputing that. Funny thing is that they mirror the numbers that Dubnyk posted last year. And what's your opinion on Dubnyk?

Two real bad turnovers when I'm sure the message going into the game was to absolutely not turn over the puck with Stamkos or St Louis on the ice.

The Oilers were chasing the Lightning on the scoreboard as a result and that's not how you win games.

I thought the weakest goal of the game was the Hall goal given up by Bishop who was flopping around on his knees, he's standing and he makes that save.

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#299 DSF
November 08 2013, 09:51AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

As I stared earlier, I think that Tampa is playing over its head - they aren't as good as their record implies. So even with a full roster, against the true elite teams. - all of which are in the west save Pitt - the oil is going to lose and lose badly most nights.

Interesting that the Lightning are getting scorched for how they played last night.

Damian Cristodero ‏@LightningTimes

After Thursday's lazy win over the Oilers, nothing but 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 puck battles so far at Friday practice.

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#300 bazmagoo
November 08 2013, 09:53AM
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