Disaster

Jonathan Willis
November 09 2013 03:09PM

The Edmonton Oilers had a chance on Saturday to pick up two points from one of the league's worst teams. They had healthy bodies back, the Flyers had lost two straight, and this game represented a real opportunity to start things turning around after a strong effort in a win over Florida and a stronger one in a loss to Tampa Bay.

It didn't happen.

Losing Badly

It's not just that the Oilers lost, or who they lost against, but how they lost. Some fans will want to place the blame on Devan Dubnyk - who was actually reasonably solid until that fourth goal - or on the referees for mistakenly assessing a major penalty against an innocent Anton Belov.

But the real problem was the skaters. The following chart shows on-ice scoring chances at even-strength for the Oilers forwards against Philadelphia, as counted by me.

Player EV+ EV- Percentage
Luke Gazdic 0 1 0.0%
Jordan Eberle 1 7 12.5%
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1 6 14.3%
Boyd Gordon 1 4 20.0%
Ryan Smyth 1 4 20.0%
Taylor Hall 4 8 33.3%
Jesse Joensuu 1 2 33.3%
Mark Arcobello 2 4 33.3%
Sam Gagner 4 6 40.0%
Ales Hemsky 5 7 41.7%
David Perron 3 3 50.0%
Nail Yakupov 2 1 66.7%

And for the defence:

Player EV+ EV- Percentage
Nick Schultz 1 6 14.3%
Taylor Fedun 1 5 16.7%
Andrew Ference 2 9 18.2%
Jeff Petry 2 7 22.2%
Philip Larsen 6 6 50.0%
Anton Belov 6 5 54.5%

For the most part, it was the Oilers' best players getting killed against the Flyers. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall all had among the worst marks on the team in this regard. These are the guys that typically push results - and did last year, even as the rest of the team gave everything back and then some. On defence, the Oilers top pairing of Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry were lit up, too.

The Oilers play in Chicago tomorrow. It seems unlikely to go well.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Geoff
November 09 2013, 03:13PM
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Well Philly is a top NHL team, it's not like they are playing the worst team in the league.

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#2 36Million
November 09 2013, 03:19PM
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Why should I try? Katz doesn't . Management won't . Pay me. Then get me the F out of here. Seriously, this team is an embarrassing exhibition of total incompetence. Sickening.

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#3 Randy
November 09 2013, 03:22PM
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Can you imagine this Kevin Lowe's job based on good results. A novel approach.

What is his record with the Oilers since he retired as a player?

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#4 Randy
November 09 2013, 03:26PM
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Oilers should make a trade for L Smid. Perhaps Gagner or draft picks.

Oilers do need D-men

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#5 Newj
November 09 2013, 03:27PM
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Formula for diaster

- spot opposition a couple goals within first 10-15 mins, partly claw way back only to give up a softy and then lose. They have the formula down pat!

Maybe Eakins will quit before they fire him, if I were coach, I would. This team is dreadful.

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#6 Woogie63
November 09 2013, 03:27PM
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Has/is the window closed to be a team that will attract a top free agent, college player, or a player from the KHL. Would we rank up there with Buffalo as team that players with no or limited trade contracts have select as the will not accept a trade to?

With 49 players under contract, at the cap, we seem to have very few options but draft well and develop player. Ebs and RNH way over paid for way too long.

I think we are going to watch this group of players for a long time.

Yikes, how are Eskies doing?

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#7 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:28PM
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How much longer are you going to defend Dubnyk?

Everyone knows he is not an NHL starter now.Maybe he gets it back in a few years like Tim Thomas but now he is just crap.

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#8 Batfink
November 09 2013, 03:30PM
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Trade another D-Man with nothing coming back! Then throw three AHL rookies in the deep end! Hey, I'm pretty good at this, K-Lowe I'm available!

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#9 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:31PM
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@Newj

Formula for disaster

Have a new owner hire his buddy to run his NHL team.Then hire a rookie GM who hires a rookie coach because he gets a man crush.The rookie coach is then saddled with the owners buddy, buddies as assistant coaches.

How could that ever go wrong?

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#10 Smokey
November 09 2013, 03:33PM
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Disaster is this past week. This week title is Clusterfudge once our cosmonaut shows up.

Frankly don't get why you don't run Nuge, Ebs and Hall. The line works and is effective even if the puck does not go in the net. You gotta get this team going, and this line has historically been effective. I'd then do some combo of Gordon, Arco, Perron as their going. They can be your toughs line.

Disappointing loss. Bad team, poor line combos, bad goaltending. That's on Eakins.

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#12 Woogie63
November 09 2013, 03:37PM
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If we started the season with Ralph, Smith, Bucky, and Action as the co-coach Ralph was looking for... And we got off to this start .... Would they be fired by now?

I know we have gone through a lot of coaches in five years, but lets not show patience with the worst coaching group.

I think we need a coach with more experience to get most out of this team.

This year is done. We have 60 games to learn a new system.

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#13 Quicksilver ballet
November 09 2013, 03:37PM
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A disclaimer should accompany this article. *** 5 beer minimum recommended consumed before partaking in this article***

Red Solo cup, I fill you up....lets have a party!

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#14 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:38PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Tyler Dellow posted a nice chart that seems relevant.

A nice chart does not stop pucks a goalie does.Unless it is Dubnyk.Then you are SOL.

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#15 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 09 2013, 03:41PM
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Spydyr wrote:

A nice chart does not stop pucks a goalie does.Unless it is Dubnyk.Then you are SOL.

The chart doesn't say Dubnyk hasn't been horrible.

It simply says it is not uncommon for average goaltenders to have terrible stretches outside of their historical average.

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#16 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 09 2013, 03:44PM
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Wasting of a good fan base is the goal apparently.

Trading players fixes nothing. the problem is systemic. Attitude reflects leadership in sport. Lowe is the leader and look at the on ice result.

What a complete waste.

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#17 Lowe Expectations
November 09 2013, 03:47PM
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When you go out in public and mention the Oilers, people laugh. It's actually better to be ignored than laughed at.

Everybody seems to have an opinion |

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#18 hemi
November 09 2013, 03:50PM
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My better half and I were doing the BANFF shopping extravaganza this weekend and silly old me, I decided to show my Edmonton pride by wearing my Mighty Oil hat. I actually had some other hockey fans poke a wee bit at me due to my attire......I almost felt like a leaf's fan at times. Being laughed at and or smirked at was and still is a favorite pastime of mine whenever I spot some fool with a Maple Leaf hat and or etc. Sadly, who's laughing now!

All my years as a loyal Edmonton Citizen, I have never been embarrassed to heap the praises of my fair city but the dismal display of the Oil has really made it hard for me to be boastful these days.

What the heck has gone wrong with our sport teams? Is there any way out of this black hole that has become the Edmonton Sports scene?

A very disappointing year!

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#19 Hair bag
November 09 2013, 03:51PM
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Spydyr wrote:

How much longer are you going to defend Dubnyk?

Everyone knows he is not an NHL starter now.Maybe he gets it back in a few years like Tim Thomas but now he is just crap.

Duby has been brutal most of the year but today wasn't his fault - he kept them in the game. Every goal Philly scored was from a good quality chance or a snipe by a skilled shooter.

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#20 Who?
November 09 2013, 03:52PM
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Tyler who? Sick of these bloggers. LoweTide and his band of wannabe typists wear me out. No insight, nothing new, and where does their so called expertise come from.

Give me legitimate journalists like Spector.

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#21 Smokey
November 09 2013, 03:53PM
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Woogie63 wrote:

If we started the season with Ralph, Smith, Bucky, and Action as the co-coach Ralph was looking for... And we got off to this start .... Would they be fired by now?

I know we have gone through a lot of coaches in five years, but lets not show patience with the worst coaching group.

I think we need a coach with more experience to get most out of this team.

This year is done. We have 60 games to learn a new system.

I agree. Frankly watching how bad this team is coached, watching the same mistakes over and over again, I could care less if theirs a new coach.

Find a coach who knows defence, and can instill confidence, and who has track record. Give him 60 games to implement his system for next year.

I was so anti Sutter when they hired Krueger, but I have changed my mind, because this team needs "Hitchcockian" transformation. Sutter the guy I want, cause Sutter's get things done. I want boring winning hockey, proper systems, coaches who scare you into being a better team, who don't take crap from anyone.

I'm going to go read draft previews.

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#22 Greg the Hammer Valentine
November 09 2013, 03:59PM
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JW, I think it's time for you start telling us about Sam Reinhart, Aaron Ekblad and Leon Draisaitl. Please divert our attention to something other than the on-ice product we have right now.

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#23 Johnnydapunk
November 09 2013, 04:02PM
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Woogie63 wrote:

Has/is the window closed to be a team that will attract a top free agent, college player, or a player from the KHL. Would we rank up there with Buffalo as team that players with no or limited trade contracts have select as the will not accept a trade to?

With 49 players under contract, at the cap, we seem to have very few options but draft well and develop player. Ebs and RNH way over paid for way too long.

I think we are going to watch this group of players for a long time.

Yikes, how are Eskies doing?

There are options, but it don't think much can be done except damage limitation as there are a lot of contracts that expire at the end of the season.

This won't make any difference in making anything better but here is the contract situation for the Oilers .

Oilers under contract and cap hit

Unfortunately Edmonton is not an easy sell for players, as much as we can deny it and everything, players nowadays would rather live and play somewhere with milder temperatures and perhaps a place where they can be a bit more anonymous. Irrelevant on their performance, I don't agree that players or staff are fair game to be yelled at when they are not at the rink. I am aware than a lot of people are super pissed off that the Oil are crap right now, but screaming at the players or coaches on the street will not solve anything, it will only make it harder and harder to attract players here.

Regarding players wanting to play elsewhere, there are players who of course want to play here because of the history of the club, but sadly the Oilers are on a lot of players list of no trade teams.

Apologies for any rambling, my dental surgery and painkillers have turned me into a gibbering mess :)

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#24 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:09PM
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Hair bag wrote:

Duby has been brutal most of the year but today wasn't his fault - he kept them in the game. Every goal Philly scored was from a good quality chance or a snipe by a skilled shooter.

Someone scored from the goal line in the corner.A back breaker goal after the team battled back into the game.Not sure what game you were watching but the one I watched Dubnyk let in two very questionable goals.

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#25 6 ring circus
November 09 2013, 04:11PM
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@reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)

The bigger problem than Lowe is Katz,He does not hold his hockey management team accountable,he does not care about his fan base, if he did he would've made made changes by now,his only concern is that he gets to hang out with the glory day Oilers and the end result is this sorry excuse of a hockey team we have left after Kevin Lowe has screwed it up so bad.Good luck attracting any free agents here,it wont be much longer before the stars on the team ask for a ticket out of town,as a fan base we are all frustrated and have pretty much given up all hope with Lowe running this team,how do you think the players feel and why would they want to continue to play for such a MICKEY MOUSE ORGANIZATION!!!!

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#26 Clarko
November 09 2013, 04:12PM
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The optimist in me tells me there are only two problems with this team:

1. We can't keep the puck out of our net (dead last in goals against in the league).

2. We can't score goals with any consistency (13th out of 14 teams in our conference in goals scored).

Other than that, the Oilers are on the pathway to greatness!!

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#27 Walter Sobchak
November 09 2013, 04:14PM
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Hair bag wrote:

Duby has been brutal most of the year but today wasn't his fault - he kept them in the game. Every goal Philly scored was from a good quality chance or a snipe by a skilled shooter.

So that Lecavalier goal with 5 minutes left on the goal line is an acceptable goal?

That's a goal that can't go in!! It's deflating and a team killer!

Just a brutal goal.

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#28 Gerald R. Ford
November 09 2013, 04:14PM
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It's only a matter of time before one of these high-potential first round draft picks simply refuses to sign here. I don't think I could blame any kid who'd wait to go back into the draft rather than waste an entry level contract "developing" in this organization.

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#29 Clarko
November 09 2013, 04:15PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Someone scored from the goal line in the corner.A back breaker goal after the team battled back into the game.Not sure what game you were watching but the one I watched Dubnyk let in two very questionable goals.

I understand that Dubnyk hasn't been great this season, but our defensive zone coverage today was abysmal. Even on the last goal, you can see Schultz, Smyth, and Gagner covering nobody while Lecavlier stands alone at the side of the net.

The scoring chances were like 2 or 3 to 1 today.

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#30 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:18PM
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Eakins in his post game interview."We were out battled and out sized."

Good thing you traded away you most physical d-man for prospects.

The whole team is just lost.Desperation has set in.This whole rebuild never had a plan.Just play it as we go.That what you get when you don't hire the best people for the job instead hiring your friends.It is shameful what this once great team has become.

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#31 Alsker
November 09 2013, 04:19PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

It's only a matter of time before one of these high-potential first round draft picks simply refuses to sign here. I don't think I could blame any kid who'd wait to go back into the draft rather than waste an entry level contract "developing" in this organization.

And everyone questioned the length of 4,14,93 contracts...by the time these are up maybe this a competitive team...but honestly the bus is on cruise control and no one at the wheel.

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#32 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:21PM
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Clarko wrote:

I understand that Dubnyk hasn't been great this season, but our defensive zone coverage today was abysmal. Even on the last goal, you can see Schultz, Smyth, and Gagner covering nobody while Lecavlier stands alone at the side of the net.

The scoring chances were like 2 or 3 to 1 today.

Lecavlier was standing on the goal line half way to the corner.No goal ever should go in from there.He was not a scoring threat from there.

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#33 Oilcruzer
November 09 2013, 04:23PM
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Hair bag wrote:

Duby has been brutal most of the year but today wasn't his fault - he kept them in the game. Every goal Philly scored was from a good quality chance or a snipe by a skilled shooter.

Meh.

A good (not outstanding... GOOD) goalie keeps you in the game. He makes that save on the third goal, instead of leaving the post early.

The right (his left) post was not in need of protection until after Giroux began to cross past Ference.

In order to have a bad run, you have to have a good run. What if this run is his best? Do we wait for the worst?

And don't run off on past year's performances. This is now or otherwise we may as well start talking about dressing Andy Moog or Grant Fuhr based on their past performances.

This happy go lucky, it'll get better attitude is no good either. I'd like to see Dubey get mad, break sticks, throw equipment, SHOW SOME DAMN EMOTION AND FRUSTRATION!

Hope Bunz has a solid start tonight for OKC.

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#34 Sloppy Joe
November 09 2013, 04:23PM
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Who? wrote:

Tyler who? Sick of these bloggers. LoweTide and his band of wannabe typists wear me out. No insight, nothing new, and where does their so called expertise come from.

Give me legitimate journalists like Spector.

Holy moly. Mark "Grrrrriiiiittttt" Spector. The same Mark Spector who wanted to run Ben Eager on the top line.

As much as the oilers' management makes it hard to be a fan, the amount of pure, unbridled stupidity within the fanbase makes it even harder.

JW - I would cry myself to sleep every night if put in the work that you do, only to find out that a large portion of my audience was "special". You must have skin as thick as a rhino.

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#35 6 ring circus
November 09 2013, 04:24PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

It's only a matter of time before one of these high-potential first round draft picks simply refuses to sign here. I don't think I could blame any kid who'd wait to go back into the draft rather than waste an entry level contract "developing" in this organization.

Dillon Simpson will be the first player that does not sign with the Oiler's, He will not be the last, until there is significant changes at the top of this organization and I wouldn't blame him either for not signing .His dad Craig knows a thing or two about hockey and the Oilers organization and I bet he wouldn't want his kid playing for the Oiler's.

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#36 vetinari
November 09 2013, 04:24PM
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64. That's how many more games we have left this season. Even in the years that we finished last in the league, we never reached this low, this early in a season.

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#37 Eddie Shore
November 09 2013, 04:24PM
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Who? wrote:

Tyler who? Sick of these bloggers. LoweTide and his band of wannabe typists wear me out. No insight, nothing new, and where does their so called expertise come from.

Give me legitimate journalists like Spector.

Spector? hahahahahahahahah

No really? Spector? Haha now that is funny.

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#39 -30
November 09 2013, 04:26PM
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Does this team suffer from owner interference/incompetence? I am beginning to think so.

How on earth can one team continually make the same mistakes over and over again? They tease us with a period of encouraging play and then tank it because of what seems to be indifference.

There is a culture of losing here from top to bottom and that includes players, coaches, managers and owner.

How can otherwise brilliant business people be so stupid when it comes to running a professional sports franchise?

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#41 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 09 2013, 04:27PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I've always found it extremely irritating when I click on the Oilers Nation blog, and there's another one of those darn bloggers giving me his opinion!

I say: ENOUGH. It's time to run these thrice cursed bloggers off the blogs and back to... well wherever! The important thing is to get rid of them!

Dubnyk will probably play better when people aren't trying to figure out if his putrid play has a historical precedent on blogs.

It works that way, right?

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#42 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:31PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Dubnyk will probably play better when people aren't trying to figure out if his putrid play has a historical precedent on blogs.

It works that way, right?

Almost as well as a nice chart.

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#43 Oiler Al
November 09 2013, 04:32PM
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These players just dont want to or dont know what it takes to win games in the NHL. Very little effort, and energy in their game. Not hard on the puck or body, just going through the motions... Something very wrong with this team. They are either tired or out of shape or just plain dont care anymore.. they havn't all season.

They play a bottom dweller like Philly who were a + 14, while the Oilers were a -14.. Oilers had 2 takeaways and 11 give aways in this game... not exactly hard on the puck team, compared to Philly @ 10 TK and 6 Gv.

In my view, #14, 93, 89, and even 4, didnt show up for this game. They are the core leaders... time to grow some.

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#44 Craig1981
November 09 2013, 04:33PM
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Its only early November and I am already googleing next years draft.........

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#45 Eddie Shore
November 09 2013, 04:35PM
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-30 wrote:

Does this team suffer from owner interference/incompetence? I am beginning to think so.

How on earth can one team continually make the same mistakes over and over again? They tease us with a period of encouraging play and then tank it because of what seems to be indifference.

There is a culture of losing here from top to bottom and that includes players, coaches, managers and owner.

How can otherwise brilliant business people be so stupid when it comes to running a professional sports franchise?

I'd like to know when Eakins is going to start holding our top players accountable? As long as our guys continue getting their shifts after they make the same mistakes over and over, nothing will change. Start stapling their asses to the bench and start sending the message that it is unacceptable. Our chance of winning diminishes with our top guys sitting but we are losing anyway so what is there to lose? Short term pain for long term gain.

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#46 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:35PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

These players just dont want to or dont know what it takes to win games in the NHL. Very little effort, and energy in their game. Not hard on the puck or body, just going through the motions... Something very wrong with this team. They are either tired or out of shape or just plain dont care anymore.. they havn't all season.

They play a bottom dweller like Philly who were a + 14, while the Oilers were a -14.. Oilers had 2 takeaways and 11 give aways in this game... not exactly hard on the puck team, compared to Philly @ 10 TK and 6 Gv.

In my view, #14, 93, 89, and even 4, didnt show up for this game. They are the core leaders... time to grow some.

"leaders"

You are funny, you make me laugh.

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#47 Batfink
November 09 2013, 04:36PM
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Never mind refusing to sign, I'm waiting for the first guy to refuse to play! Last power play, Debrusk actually got something right when he said "you HAVE to get that on net straight off the face-off, not keep it on the boards for 10 seconds." Do people honestly think that Perron would do this if he wasn't told to? He played for Hitch, for Jeebus sake. Terrible coaching. Do the other coaches have ANY input? You can see the players looking behind them on the bench for guidance but the staff say nothing, like zombies! Even with that crappy call on Belov. Get angry Dallas, anything.

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#48 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:37PM
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@Batfink

Dallas is too tired from his bike ride to get angry.

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#49 Batfink
November 09 2013, 04:38PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I'd like to know when Eakins is going to start holding our top players accountable? As long as our guys continue getting their shifts after they make the same mistakes over and over, nothing will change. Start stapling their asses to the bench and start sending the message that it is unacceptable. Our chance of winning diminishes with our top guys sitting but we are losing anyway so what is there to lose? Short term pain for long term gain.

Eakins needs to hold himself at least in part accountable. Yes, the players have to excute the plan, but even a good plan executed badly has a chance. However, a bad plan badly executed......

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#50 kale
November 09 2013, 04:38PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

Its only early November and I am already googleing next years draft.........

What took you so long? I started in October.

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