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
#1 jonny94
November 07 2013, 08:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
40
cheers

If Dubnyk gets the start in Philadelphia I bet Giroux gets his first goal.

Avatar
#2 Rob F
November 07 2013, 08:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
36
cheers

@DSF

even a crack head could tell we need a goalie....today the team with a better goalie won

Avatar
#3 MKE
November 07 2013, 09:43PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
36
cheers
DSF wrote:

You follow the Oilers?

Get a life.

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

On a daily basis no less.

Avatar
#4 Hemmercules
November 07 2013, 12:51PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
33
cheers

I would swap Arco and Gagner in those lines. I was never crazy about Gagner at centre, a rusty Gagner at centre is even worse. Break him in on the wing with some shelter and reward arco for his hard work.

Snipers feast on Dubnyk, facing Stamkos and co. is scary. Oil compete tonight but fall 5-4.

Avatar
#5 Gordie Wayne
November 07 2013, 01:25PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
33
cheers

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

Avatar
#6 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 08:13PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
32
cheers

@DSF

Someone up above said it best, we switch goalies with Tampa tonight, we win by a large margin. Not saying the Oil are better than Tampa, but Bishop stole this game.

Avatar
#7 hankthetank
November 07 2013, 10:41PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
30
cheers

@bazmagoo

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

Avatar
#8 Romanus
November 07 2013, 10:41PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
30
cheers
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.

Avatar
#9 Sidd
November 07 2013, 08:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
29
cheers

Maybe Kevin Lowe should run for Mayor in Toronto

Avatar
#10 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:38PM
Trash it!
21
trashes
Cheers
28
cheers
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.

Avatar
#11 Chainsawz
November 07 2013, 09:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
27
cheers
MKE wrote:

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

On a daily basis no less.

This sums it up nicely.

It's quite sad, actually.

Avatar
#12 TRAV
November 07 2013, 10:35PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
27
cheers

@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!

Avatar
#13 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:33PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
25
cheers
The Real Gongshow wrote:

The Oilers offered Jones and a 3rd. The Bolts offered Conacher and a 4th. Who would you rather have if you were the Sens ?

Duh.

Which management team had the brains to put a proper value on Bishop and got the deal done?

Ryan Jones?

Good grief.

You can pick up far better players off the waiver wire or in the offseason for nothing.

See Mason Raymond for reference.

Avatar
#14 MKE
November 07 2013, 09:26PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
25
cheers

@DSF

Ya we got it. The Oilers suck :).

Get a life.

Avatar
#15 Rob F
November 07 2013, 08:05PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
24
cheers

im not sure who's had a worse couple months.....me or the oilers....

Avatar
#16 Oiler63
November 07 2013, 12:42PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
22
cheers
Rocket wrote:

I'm amping to see how Stamkos lights The Oilers up. Watching him play against Hall (maybe) should be fun to watch.

Also, I wonder how Hedman is doing? He was drafted high but since then I haven't really heared much about him.

Hedman and Adam Larsson are the reason why Seth Jones was drafted No. 4.

Avatar
#17 Spydyr
November 07 2013, 06:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
22
cheers
Rocket wrote:

Good lord is Gagner bad at faceoffs. Has he even won any tonight? How did he get this far into his NHL career with such a low faceoff win percentage?

Tough to generate scoring chances when they're constantly trying to retrieve the puck.

The sad part is they have Acro playing wing.

Avatar
#18 Jay
November 07 2013, 12:26PM
Trash it!
35
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers

This will be 3 games in a row now that I didn't watch these losers, and I'm in a much better mood!

Avatar
#19 kale
November 07 2013, 09:29PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers
DSF wrote:

Might want to send a memo to SJS, STL, MIN , PHX, WSH, VCR that, since they've never won a cup, the Oilers are better because they won almost 25 years ago.

Oiler fans are becoming Leaf fans.

It's quite sad, actually.

your right, none of those teams won a cup....that is quite sad actually!

Avatar
#20 Cold
November 07 2013, 11:38PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers

@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

Avatar
#21 A-Mc
November 07 2013, 12:18PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers

I dont care who scores, just score! and score more than the other team. We need a 5 game winning streak in the worst way.

Avatar
#22 Zarny
November 07 2013, 02:07PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers
pkam wrote:

I am still a bit disappointed that we didn't get Jon Cooper to coach the Oilers.

He has been a winner everywhere. Never get fired even once, just moved up the ladder from one job to another. I don't know how he did it, I just know he did it every single time.

Tampa was 2nd last in the East last season, now they are 2nd best in the East. Under his coaching, Lightning will probably win the cup in a few years.

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.

Avatar
#23 God
November 07 2013, 06:56PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers

Seriously, what is it with this organization's love affair with Sam Gagner? Yes, he's good offensively. Yes, he plays with heart. But. But he's terrible at:

centre faceoffs backchecking bodychecking defense playing big

This kind of player is terrible redundant in the Oilers lineup. I'd say Arco has made him expendable. Get rid of that contract! We aren't deep at centre if we have terrible centres.

Move him to the wing or get rid of him. I bet you could get a #3 Dman for him. Package him a few draft picks and move on.

Avatar
#24 Reg Dunlop
November 07 2013, 07:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers

Bishop>>>>>Dubnyk. The difference in the outcome tonight is goaltending.

Avatar
#25 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 08:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers
Rob... wrote:

So once again the Oilers forwards were expected to score 4 goals for the win.

Bishop pulled a Bachman tonight, he was an absolute monster in net. Must be nice...

Avatar
#26 MKE
November 07 2013, 09:43PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers
DSF wrote:

You follow the Oilers?

Get a life.

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

On a daily basis no less.

Avatar
#27 Taylor Gang
November 07 2013, 12:23PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
19
cheers

You don't realize how bad of shape we're in until you realize that even on a 5 game winning streak we'd still have a losing record.

Still, the time is now to go game by game.

Avatar
#28 Spydyr
November 07 2013, 01:04PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:Stamkos lights up Gagner's line.

Avatar
#29 Harlie
November 07 2013, 08:24PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers
God wrote:

Terrible turnover by Fedun resulting in that empty net goal.

C'mon man, game was done by then and you know it.

Avatar
#30 Harlie
November 07 2013, 08:39PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers
Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Oh Yeah........and Taylor Hall's a BEAST!

Who? You mean Toedrag?

Two minutes left, Taylor Hall speeding down the left wing as he enters the zone with 2 Oilers crashing the net. The pass opportunity is wide open, yet Taylor Toedrag Hall decides to advance further into the zone, attempt a lame toedrag, get pokechecked, and the scoring opportunity is lost.

C'mon Hallsy, use your brain and your balls.

Avatar
#31 Rob F
November 07 2013, 09:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers
DSF wrote:

Phhhttt...there are many great teams that haven't won the cup.

The Oilers can't even sniff their jocks.

huh! did someone say sniff?

Avatar
#32 Randaman
November 07 2013, 09:18PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

I see the love affair with Eberle is still alive. Nobody mentions the pathetic effort he made as Stamkos takes the puck and scores the second goal? Are you all blind? Dubnyk sucked again as usual. He is only five feet tall on his knees. On a positive note Hall looked good. I wonder how long it will be before he demands to be traded from this farce of an organization. I have never cheered for another team in 35 years but I'm getting closer with each game. Get off your ass MacT and be BOLD!!

Avatar
#33 boxman
November 08 2013, 08:37AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers
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!!

Avatar
#34 Spydyr
November 07 2013, 06:50PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers
Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

This x100, Gags on the wing please.

I would prefer Gagner to New York.Acro is already a better centre.

Avatar
#35 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:16PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers
Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Someone up above said it best, we switch goalies with Tampa tonight, we win by a large margin. Not saying the Oil are better than Tampa, but Bishop stole this game.

I agree.

The Oilers had a chance to trade for Bishop but decided to sign Dubnyk to a stupid contract instead.

Because Oilers.

Avatar
#36 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:36PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers
John Kirsch wrote:

Dubs was fine tonight Stamkos burned 2x get over it, he is the best pure goalscorer on the planet.

Dubs was .880 tonight.

Bishop was .950.

Game over.

Avatar
#37 Reg Dunlop
November 07 2013, 09:50PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

@DSF

A sad, old, lonely shut-in living for the attention he gets here. Do they have Meals on Wheels where you live?

Quite sad, actually.

Avatar
#38 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:34PM
Trash it!
21
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers
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.

Avatar
#39 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 07 2013, 01:03PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

Dubnyks problems are not mental lapses. They are the deficiencies in his game such as he does not track the puck exceptionally well. Has little to no reflex speed. Depends totally on his size so in this it is not so much him making the save as it is the puck hitting him.

When challenged with a shot that takes skill to stop he more often than not fails. Eakins knows this i think MacT knows this but Lowe needs Dubnyk to come through and so he can prove himself right.

The foundation of this organization is so busted that management spends more time "selling us" on how good they are than proving how good they are by having a competitive team.

I am hoping for the best tonight but history doesnt give me much hope

Side note Just saw the 30 on 30 about Spanos and the Islanders and found the state of the islander fans very interesting.

Avatar
#40 Spydyr
November 07 2013, 06:28PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers
Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Good lord, this comments section went south fast.

Almost as quick as the Oilers season.

Avatar
#41 DSF
November 07 2013, 09:24PM
Trash it!
20
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers
Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

The Cup isn't the main thing.......ITS THE ONLY THING!!!....Just ask Stan Smyl...

Might want to send a memo to SJS, STL, MIN , PHX, WSH, VCR that, since they've never won a cup, the Oilers are better because they won almost 25 years ago.

Oiler fans are becoming Leaf fans.

It's quite sad, actually.

Avatar
#42 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
#43 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 07:46PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

That was a laser beam. Welcome back Hall you magnificent bugger, you've been missed.

Avatar
#44 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:11PM
Trash it!
42
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers
Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Bishop pulled a Bachman tonight, he was an absolute monster in net. Must be nice...

Hockey is a team game.

The better team won the game.

Avatar
#45 BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull
November 07 2013, 12:56PM
Trash it!
15
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

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

Avatar
#46 PChan121
November 07 2013, 01:20PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Dubby with the SO tonight!!! BOOK IT LOL!!! ....... One can dream!!!!

Avatar
#47 A-Mc
November 07 2013, 02:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
14
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.

Alright, then if we can't use injury as an excuse, Arco still deserves that 2c spot based on performance alone.

Same Gagner: 3gp, 0-0-0 -6
Mark Arco.: 16gp, 2-10-12 +1

It sways even further Arcobello's way if we factor in FO%, which he's quite good at - especially compared to Gagner.

The AHL midget centerman is tied for team lead in points and has a +1 with a 52.9 FO%. He deserves to play anywhere in the line-up other than 1C (while nuge is healthy).

Avatar
#48 DSF
November 07 2013, 07:23PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers
Reg Dunlop wrote:

A moral victory tonight. Our shots on goal could be way higher if some of the open misses were a bit more accurate. Overall, a decent effort so far except for Skorodenski in net.

Moral victories and 5 bucks will get you a Tall Grande Loser at Starbucks.

Avatar
#49 James
November 07 2013, 07:31PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Is Dubnyk ever going to stop letting in bad goals in the last couple minutes of a period? God those are a killer.

Avatar
#50 FireKLowe
November 07 2013, 09:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Get a god damn goalie for fcuk sakes!!!

Comments are closed for this article.