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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#151 Wax Man Riley
November 07 2013, 06:20PM
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Is anybody else watching the TBay feed?

Commercial after commercial of pharmaceutical companies and war recruiting.

Or maybe it's just me.

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#152 Poolanov
November 07 2013, 06:32PM
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PoolanovIsStupid wrote:

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!

All Ference had to do was skate the puck out, If you can't see that, You are the idiot.

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#153 Poolanov
November 07 2013, 06:34PM
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Mikey wrote:

Nope thats on Ferrance. Why even make the pass? He should have skated around the net where no TB fowards are.

What he said.

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#154 DamnDuby
November 07 2013, 06:45PM
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@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

I completely agree, our stats were better in all areas that first period except save percentage. Go Figure!!

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#155 StHenriOilBomb
November 07 2013, 07:12PM
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I think people should start realizing that Sam Gagner is not going anywhere. MacT signed him for 3 years, publicly promising that he wouldn't trade Sam during the first two. Unless Sam wants to go, It would be professional suicide.

Arco may be here to stay, too, and when have we ever been in a position to scoff at having too many centres. If Gags plays wing (and as a solid replacement centre) and Arco can stay at center, it gives a serious option to deal a winger for a dman.

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#156 Serious Gord
November 07 2013, 07:13PM
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If the oil lose tonight they will basically be in 29th. The flyers will have one fewer point but have three games at hand.

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#157 James
November 07 2013, 07:31PM
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Is Dubnyk ever going to stop letting in bad goals in the last couple minutes of a period? God those are a killer.

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#158 fig pucker
November 07 2013, 07:32PM
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michael wrote:

P Lasen got caught. Can't blame DD on the 3rd goal. It was tic tac oh no! Hall is on his horse tonight. Can he buy a goal against Bishop? The guy is a monster in net. Why isn't he on our team? Right. ST. Hopefully the 3rd period brings better news. I did not think we would win this game. But one can have hope. I do think that The Flyer is winnable. There as woeful as we are. Plus Perron will add net prescence.

really? how many breakaways has bisop stoped tonight? to put this in perspective if the oil and bolts swapped goalies we'd be up 6 to 1 by now. duby is as useless as they come, if the only way we can expect a save is if everyone plays perfect defence? the bolts have played sloppy on d, but bishop bails them out. i say suck it up, overpay and get a real goalie. then take duby out behind the barn and put us all out of his misery!

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#159 Serious Gord
November 07 2013, 07:34PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

I doubt it. It sounds like he wants to win with this group. After a couple of more years if they're not winning, he can go wherever he wants as a free agent.

Either way, it's a long shot. Solutions with him are far more likely, and so for me, far more interesting to consider.

I suspect he will have tears of joy if he gets dealt to a contender.

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#160 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 07:34PM
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I think Eakins is juggling his lines too much.

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#161 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 07:46PM
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That was a laser beam. Welcome back Hall you magnificent bugger, you've been missed.

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#162 Rob...
November 07 2013, 08:05PM
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So once again the Oilers forwards were expected to score 4 goals for the win.

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#163 James
November 07 2013, 08:11PM
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I wonder what our stats are when we pull a goalie for the extra man, it never seems to work very much for our team but it sure seems to work for other teams a lot more.

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#164 BingBong
November 07 2013, 08:47PM
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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 ?

I think it was Jones and a 2nd no?

Either way, the Sens obviously wanted a legit roster player.

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#165 Mikey
November 07 2013, 08:49PM
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Clarko wrote:

Well, Dubnyk is the official whipping boy for Oiler fans everywhere. The Oilers played well tonight, but we are all delusional to think that goaltending is the only thing that is stopping this team from being a contender.

The giveaways on the first were absolutely terrible. They were both no pressure giveaways to one of the best two goal scorers in the game. But that was Dubnyk's fault too.

Then Smid gets turned inside out and a one-timer from 5 feet goes in. But that was Dubnyk's fault too.

I am not saying that Dubnyk has played well this season...he hasn't been good. But the giveaways and defensive liabilities were far more atrocious in this game then our goaltending.

Uh, no one believes that its only just Dubnyk. And Dubnyk has now officially earned the right to be the whipping boy.

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#166 jonny94
November 07 2013, 08:50PM
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Clarko wrote:

Well, Dubnyk is the official whipping boy for Oiler fans everywhere. The Oilers played well tonight, but we are all delusional to think that goaltending is the only thing that is stopping this team from being a contender.

The giveaways on the first were absolutely terrible. They were both no pressure giveaways to one of the best two goal scorers in the game. But that was Dubnyk's fault too.

Then Smid gets turned inside out and a one-timer from 5 feet goes in. But that was Dubnyk's fault too.

I am not saying that Dubnyk has played well this season...he hasn't been good. But the giveaways and defensive liabilities were far more atrocious in this game then our goaltending.

I don't think anyone figured the Oilers were going to be contenders this year but some meaningful hockey in November would be nice.

It's sad to say but it's seemingly becoming more truthful that if the Oilers want to win they need at least 4 goals with Dubnyk in net.....and even if they do that's not a guarantee they get the W

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#167 Randaman
November 07 2013, 09:18PM
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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!!

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#168 kale
November 07 2013, 09:29PM
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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!

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#169 Randaman
November 07 2013, 09:35PM
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MKE wrote:

I for one am glad he's not making a deal for the sake of making a deal. I'd say MacT has made a bold move by not making a move from a position of weakness.

MacT clearly won the deal for Perron.

Belov has been decent.

Some other moves haven't worked out so far.

I for one am fine giving MacT some time to put his fingerprints on this team.

This team needs a culture change. Time will tell if Eakins is the right guy to do that. A culture change will take more then 20 games

So you are saying you don't mind staying the course (losing) and waiting for the perfect deal to just fall into our lap? Sorry, been there, done that and look where we are. Eberle, Smid and a second rounder for Subban would be BOLD. Not saying that would happen but we have to be worth more as fans than we are receiving. Am I wrong?

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#170 MKE
November 07 2013, 09:43PM
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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.

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#171 Randaman
November 07 2013, 09:46PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

We all want bold................I just want some D-man who is our captain to not be such a goat with the puck. I also want a coach who doesn't stick his worst center *cough* Gagner out against one of the games best in Stamkos to continually get embarrassed shift after shift after shift. I swear every time Gagner is on the ice the puck is in the Oilers end it doesn't leave or it dies on his stick in the offensive zone.

I don't blame Ferrance. Everybody makes mistakes. At least he shows effort and calls a spade a spade. Dubnyk has to go, Smid has to go, one of the fab five have to go, BOLD!!

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#172 MKE
November 07 2013, 10:08PM
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@Serious Gord

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

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#173 Harlie
November 07 2013, 10:11PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

While getting names engraved on the cup is THE goal, it the quest that really matters.

Simple odds put winning the cup at a once in thirty years chance. would you rather follow the pirates in MLB or the red sox up until they really did win the WS?

All things being equal, watching the canucks for the last decade would unquestionably have been more rewarding than watching/enduring the oil.

Being an oilers fan for the last seven years has been a curse...

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.

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#174 Quicksilver ballet
November 07 2013, 10:11PM
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Some teet wrote this yesterday...

Has to be close to getting time to put Archo in ahead of Gagner on a more permanent basis. Sam should still be sitting another week or two, can sure see he's far from a hundred percent. Archobello, one of the Oiler leaders on the hit parade, he's been as good as or even better than Gags offensively as well as in the faceoff circle.

Great find. Time to punt that 4.8 to the curb in favour of a Gagner duplicate in Archobello, before that no trade kicks in next season. 600.000 vs 4.8, not a tough decision to make considering those funds could go towards bringing in better depth players. What does Gagner have that Archobello doesn't, beside that bloated contract. Put that coin towards Steven Ott. RNH,Gordon,Archobello and Ott would be a step up from where things are at now. Imagine what MacT could do with nearly 10 million in cap space next summer (Gags and Hemmer gone).

starting to make sense...

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#175 MKE
November 07 2013, 10:14PM
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DSF wrote:

One.

No, you.😳

Again I'm not the one with nothing else to do but be a troll on a daily basis.

Maybe your mom will by you an Xbox for Christmas

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#176 MKE
November 07 2013, 10:19PM
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acg5151 wrote:

As a Canucks fan, I really don't see how you guys can honestly say your team is better just because the Oilers won 5 cups 30 years ago. I swear that the only fanbases more entitled than you guys are the Red Wings and the Canadiens. I really wish the Oilers were competitive but after hundreds of Oilers fans told me my team sucks when your team hasn't made the playoffs in like 7 years, I really don't even pity you guys anymore.

So explain to me how a team that won 5 cups 30 years ago but has won nothing since and has picked first 3 times in a row and has missed the playoffs 7 years in a row, soon to be 8 years, is better than the Canucks or for that matter the Sharks.

Even on here I don't think you will find anyone trying to make the case that the Oilers are better right now. It's all about wins, and the Oilers have failed miserably to get enough of them.

But some of us are faithful and will stand behind this team. And say that it is great to be an Oilers fan. I think you would do the same for your team. No matter how much they sucked.

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#177 acg5151
November 07 2013, 10:28PM
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@MKE

Definitely have to agree with you on that. I've always stood by my team and I always will.

Even when I'm getting mercilessly belittled in EA NHL drop in lobbies by Oilers fansl

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#178 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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#179 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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#180 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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#181 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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#182 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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#183 DSF
November 08 2013, 09:56AM
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Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 1m

#Oilers assign forwards Ben Eager and Linus Omark to @OKCBarons.

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#184 A-Mc
November 07 2013, 12:18PM
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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.

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#185 Taylor Gang
November 07 2013, 12:23PM
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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.

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#186 Hemmercules
November 07 2013, 12:51PM
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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.

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#187 Will
November 07 2013, 01:07PM
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I also think tonight will be another night of how many goals do the Oilers need to actually win a game. Here's a question, what is the lowest amount of goals the oilers needed to win a game.

Why do I get the feeling the answer is 4.

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#188 Dog Train
November 07 2013, 01:26PM
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This will be a tough game. If we can somehow limit Stamkos and St. Louis, then we'll have a chance. Easier said than done but that's where Dubnyk needs to step in and make some big saves. Come on big guy, stop the puck!

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#189 6rings
November 07 2013, 01:39PM
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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?

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#190 @stevegregson2
November 07 2013, 01:42PM
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I am a bigger fan of this line up than many the oilers have iced this year. I like that Hall and Yak will play together with Gagner. I've never been sold on Gagner's Defensive abilities and I hope with Hall back and a re-energized yak playing with him, they will skate like the wind and keep the puck in the O zone.

My biggest concern is this. Has anyone heard what the diagnosis of halls knee injury was/is?? I heard swelling on an interview, but no actually telling if it was sprain, tear, bruise etc. I see the worst case scenario being Hall has come back early from a injury that should require surgery. Maybe he can play at 80-90%, but will still need surgery in the offseason. Either way, there's a lot that can go wrong with knees. I hope for the oilers sake that they aren't being reckless. I'd like to see hall okay more than half the season. The oilers silence on this injury does scare me. Trying not to get my expectations up too high for his return because it may not last.

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#191 Lochenzo
November 07 2013, 01:50PM
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@@stevegregson2

I think that Gagner's less than stellar defensive work is why they got Perron. Perron pretty good defensively and the Gagner-Perron combo in the preseason looked pretty good. Too bad they have yet to play with each other during the regular season.

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#192 Bucknuck
November 07 2013, 01:54PM
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I think this should be an interesting game to watch. I am at a loss why you would play Smyth at centre when you have five centres healthy in the lineup. Seems dumb to me. If Gagner and Yakupov are struggling, put them with Gaz and there's your low minutes line. I just don't get it.

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#193 pkam
November 07 2013, 01:58PM
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Smokey wrote:

Had a good coach in OKC who almost made it to the Calder Cup playoffs. I think if Nelson made it to the final dance he would of gotten consideration with the Oilers this year. Frankly he appears to be the only decent coach we have in the organization.

I am not sure who is better between Eakins and Nelson. My guess is they are very close.

But most interesting, Jon Cooper lead the Norfolk Admirals to Calder cup 2 years ago. A team with many small but skillful players just like the Oilers, where many posters here will consider it a midget team.

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#194 **
November 07 2013, 02:06PM
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Obvious game day prediction: Dubnyk let's in yet another softie top shelf above his left shoulder.

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#195 Zarny
November 07 2013, 02:07PM
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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.

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#196 bulldog12
November 07 2013, 02:09PM
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Lightning have scored 7 more GF and allowed 27 less GA than the Oilers in 10 games Oilers better get the message soon or we already know the outcome of this game Eakins said Omark needs to buy into the teams defensive strategy ???? Am I missing something here

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#197 Zarny
November 07 2013, 02:11PM
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Smokey wrote:

I don't get why if you got four centers that why you play a guy outta position who plays well on the boards. Eakins has enough horses to roll four lines 5x5. Play your top two lines consistently, and make your 3/4 lines battle it out who will play more down the stretch.

Instead you got Gagner who is non-existent on the dot, who will probably go 2-14. Stamkos will get this match-up and the Oilers will get roasted in their own zone. The fourth line will continue to play 5 minutes, with Smyth getting a shift on the PP, and a few on the penalty kill. Tampa's got two Oiler lines to destroy tonight. I'm predicting a 5-4 Oiler loss, with Stamkos with the trick.

Umm no.

Eakins has 3 NHL lines and a bunch of AHLers on the 4th.

Which is one of the key problems with the Oilers...zero depth...anywhere.

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#198 bwar
November 07 2013, 02:49PM
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@Ignoramus

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

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#199 Silver Streak
November 07 2013, 03:07PM
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whats the story on Pitlick`s knee....

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#200 pkam
November 07 2013, 03:30PM
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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.

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