GDB 28.0: HURDLING

Lowetide
December 01 2013 08:24AM

The Edmonton Oilers have been tightening their defensive play under coach Dallas Eakins and it does appear to be working. In the club's last 10 games, the goals-against average for DD and Bryz is 2.52 compared to 3.24 for the entire season. The goaltending has improved, but what about the defense? Is it getting better? How can we tell?

BOXCARS

In the last 10 games, the Oilers blue has posted the following boxcar numbers:

  1. Phil Larsen (IR) 5, 0-4-4 -4
  2. Justin Schultz 5, 2-1-3 +3
  3. Corey Potter 6, 0-2-2 -2
  4. Nick Schultz 10, 0-2-2 -1
  5. Denis Grebeshkov 2, 0-1-1 +1
  6. Jeff Petry 10, 0-1-1 +3
  7. Anton Belov 10, 0-1-1 -2
  8. Taylor Fedun 2, 0-0-0 -2
  9. Andrew Ference 10, 0-1-1 -1

It's an interesting look back, we can kind of see the point where  Larsen went on IR and Fedun was sent down, and then the 5 games Schultz the younger has been back has coincided with an uptick in results (funny, that) for the team.

CORSI FOR % (5x5)

In the last 5 games, it's fun to see the list of defensemen who have been on the ice for good things:

  1. Anton Belov 78-62 55.7%
  2. Justin Schultz 66-57 53.6%
  3. Denis Grebeshkov 23-20 53.4%
  4. Jeff Petry 66-58 53.2%
  5. Nick Schultz 60-67 47.2%
  6. Andrew Ference 57-65 46.7%
  7. Corey Potter 30-44 40.5%

This is from Extra skater, and I'm listing Corsi For-Corsi against and the percentage and this is all 5x5. Now, it's important to note that we're not taking into account things like zone starts and toughness of opposition, this is straight Corsi at 5x5 over the last 5 games.

That said, it's fascinating to see four defensemen above 50% over that time (!!!!) and the 5-6 guys are not far from 50% (with only Corey Potter fading badly). We don't know if Schultz's return or Grebeshkov's callup are big reasons for the improved shot differential, we only know that in the last 5 games this group has been part of some good things.

And we also know the goals against in the last 10 games has been going down, and part of that is due to the puck being in the other end more often.

These are all nice signs for the club, and barring injury they should be able to repeat it (depending on quality of opposition, etc) and more wins should come as a result.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Jones-Arcobello-Joensuu

Ference-Petry
Grebeshkov-J.Schultz
Belov-N.Schultz

Dubnyk

That's my guess, but I don't know why you'd change anything aside from the goaltender. That 4th line has been doing some nice things, and I'm betting the Nuge line will find a way to rock and roll in Texas later today. The young Russian likes the big stage, and everything's big in Texas, maybe he'll rip three rockets into the Dallas night.

QUICK HITS

  • According to nhl.com, the Oilers have 4 rookies this season: Mark Arcobello, Taylor Fedun, Luke Gazdic and Tyler Pitlick. Anton Belov doesn't qualify.
  • The Oilers leading scorer is Jordan Eberle (23 points) who is tied for 28th in league points. Last year, Taylor Hall finished 9th, but this year he and David Perron are tied at 61st overall.
  • Craig MacTavish was in Oklahoma City last night, raving about Mark Arcobello in an interview with brilliant play-by-play man Jim Byers.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

WHO CARES? It's almost time for hurdles!!!!! Okay, fine.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers play the system and find their range on the powerplay, scoring twice with the man advantage in a 3-2 victory over the Stars.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Smyth leaves it all out on the ice.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Shawn Horcoff channels himself as a rookie and sends a cross-ice pass that Yakupov shoots through the net for the winner.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#101 JJ
December 02 2013, 12:40AM
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I would just like to make one comment regarding the people laughing at the Perron/Team Canada post.. Brad Marchand was invited to the training camp for Team Canada, and Perron is undoubtedly a far superior player. So it's not too far off. But it is off.

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#102 Loyal Oil
December 01 2013, 10:33AM
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Do you think the numbers over the last 10 games have more to do with Garbagekov's recall or the fact that we were able to beat 4 suck asss teams over that period. Pull out the 7-0 CBJ beating and see how the numbers look. Bottom line, McT has failed to build anything close to a playoff team. ON writers really need to quit shilling for failed Oiler management.

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#103 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 12:11PM
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The Oilers improvement on defence the last ten games may have to do with the quality of competition they have faced.More so then any improvement themselves.

Many Oilers fans forget there are two teams on the ice every game.

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#104 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 12:32PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

I would've loved to have the Oiler's succeed this year and make the playoff's,the schedule does not get any easier and I cannot see the Oilers finishing any higher than 25th, so we are in for another lottery pick,let's wait and see what happens at the end of the year, if Katz step's up and fire's some dead weight around the Oiler's office's or if we continue to get fed a bunch of BS about how the team is improving and going in the right direction.The Oiler's have increased in value by 200 million since Katz bought the team,they are getting a new arena and have been one of the worst run sports franchises these last 8 years!!! and it's all because they have a loyal and dedicated fan base,isn't it time that the fan base get rewarded with a winning team or is that to much to ask?

For a guy who "swims with the fishes" you make some very good points.

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#105 bwar
December 01 2013, 03:28PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Call me a dreamer but I'm hoping they are sitting Dubnyk because he is getting traded along with someone else for a upgrade in net.

Now that would be bold.

Since you brought it up... TRADE EVERYONE!

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#106 Oilerz4life
December 01 2013, 03:33PM
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Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

Grebeshkov-J.Shultz

Belov-N.Shultz

Fudun could probably do better than N.Shultz. Who knows, Nurse could probably do better than Grebeshkov. Trade both Garbagekov and N.Shultz for an upgrade and bring up Fedun. Something, anything, that defensive line-up is a total siv.

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#107 Quicksilver ballet
December 01 2013, 04:51PM
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Woogi63 wrote:

Have we seen Eakin "out coach" HIS counterpart yet this?

That win over Barry Trotz still has me scratching my head.

Bryzgoalie keepin us in there, so far.

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#108 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 01 2013, 06:30PM
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Both goals were the result of taking the body, recovering the puck, and throwing it on net. Who'da thunk it.

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#109 2004Z06
December 01 2013, 06:36PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

89 has made some high quality plays this afternoon. And he deserved a plus on the Hemsky goal. Made a good play right before jones. I don't see him floating tonight.

Who was the last man back on the second Dallas goal? Oh yeah.....Gagner!

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#110 Mikey
December 02 2013, 08:12AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Not true. Marchand is a far better player at performing the role that he does than Perron is at his.

Is there anyone who reads this who wouldn't trade Perron for Marchand straight up?

Me. I wouldn't make that trade. Ever. You are right tho, Marchand is a better instigater, to bad their is more to hockey than that. I would like to see Marchand play for a team like the oilers, I got a feeling he would be ineffective knowing he has no Lucic or Chara or Thorton to back him up.

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#111 PutzStew
December 01 2013, 10:11AM
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Rob wrote:

Ference has been sheltered in Boston. It's been said time and time again we are missing a true number one d-man. It would all filter down from there. Think back to when Pronger came to town. Love him or hate him he took the pressure off of the rest of the crew by chewing crazy minutes and allowing others to play well within their limits.

Reality is, nobody like that is coming until the trade deadline at the earliest and then what are we giving up to get a player of this calibre? Likely one of the studs and if not a first pick then certainly a second. I would suggest the latter because teams will see MacT coming a mile away.

There is an outside chance they get a free agent like that but generally speaking these guys don't go to free agency and if one does, because of our brutal record as of late Edmonton is not their first choice of destinations. One of the biggest mistakes made this summer was actively pursuing Jason Labarbera. Yes, Bryzgalov was a head case in Philly but a. Who wouldn't be and b. he has the pedigree to be a solid goalie and has shown it in large stretches throughout his career (even if the teams in front of him played solid d). Labarbera has always been a fringe NHLer. Face palm. When Dubey started slow there was no alternative and it was felt throughout the lineup, throw in some injuries and the season was over before it started.

Until then status quo... Here is hoping some of those "Bold Moves" aren't too far off.

First…Ferance was a bold move. He was over paid to come here in hopes that he would provide leadership and help Show the kids how to win. As you can probably tell (like the others that have been brought in in the past to do just this) he is having a hard time getting the messages across.

Second…Why would a #1 FA D-man want to join this organization.

The reality is if Edmonton wants to get a top 20, #1 D-Man, the deal is going to start with Hall, Nurse, 1 Round pick, Etc. If you aren't willing to go there then don't complain.

A little with ago I was reading about the music at Rexal. Although I haven't been there for many years, may I suggest the circus sone from Madagascar 3.

Da da dadada da da da circus, da da dadada da da da Afro, Circus, Afro, Circus, Afro…..

Seems fitting for this once proud franchise.

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#112 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 10:32AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

An excellent show that is available on YouTube is "Behind the B" a NESN produced equivalent of Oil Change, except following the Bruins. Highly recommend it. Episode 1 or 2 they discuss Ference in the boardroom. The consensus is quickly reached that while a good guy in the room, he is clearly on the back nine of his career and slowing down. While they would like him as a five / six they need to make room for younger / cheaper guys.

Done. Whacked. No contract being offered.

Refreshing to see an organization run efficiently. BTW the discussion on Seguin was very interesting. While no salacious details are shown on camera , it was pretty clear that they were tired of his act. They knew they were giving up talent but done babysitting.

Done. Whacked within a week.

Right or wrong they are moving along. No regrets. Now that is bold. Hopefully some of the Oiler muckety mucks or Mr. Katz himself can find a way to get NESN.

Thanks for this. If the game sucks I will watch this and dream of what it would be like watching an oilers team with capable brass. Oil change is such a farse. I stopped watching it last season.

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#113 kdunbar
December 01 2013, 10:43AM
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"The reality is if Edmonton wants to get a top 20, #1 D-Man, the deal is going to start with Hall, Nurse, 1 Round pick, Etc. If you aren't willing to go there then don't complain. "

I would definitely start with the number one and either Klefbomb or Marincin. how ever if the number one d is solid defensively also (aka not PK Subban) and a little nasty (aka not Ehroff) and is / can be locked up longer term (aka not Phaneuf without an extension) then I look to start with Yak, or Ebs and one of the above.

We also need a second line center who can play gritty defensive hockey in our zone who can do what Sam Gagner does. It could be Arcabello but his lack of experience makes me not wish to go all in with him yet. But has definitely earned a shot.

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#114 tileguy
December 01 2013, 10:50AM
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When an article begins with boxcars and Cori and tells us about good things happening I have to chuckle. Looking with my eyes I see a team loaded with small, soft players that were wonderkids in junior but not suited for the nhl game. Blow this dam rebuild up, make some trades and overlay for some toughness and grit. It will make the remain skill better. OGDP oilers loose again.

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#115 Walter Sobchak
December 01 2013, 11:25AM
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LT

Good read first.

Having said that, you are all about sample size, how much weight do you honestly put into the "numbers" during this last ten game set?

Reason being, is while I think we can agree that there have been some nice things happening on the ice and on "paper" by the eye they are having absolute melt downs in the defensive zone.

With the schedule being in the Oilers favour the last ten games or so, I'm not remotely convinced the Oilers numbers are as good as some think they are?

I think the rest of December & January are going to be the sample we need to find were the Oilers game is actually at.

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#116 Walter Sobchak
December 01 2013, 11:43AM
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Where the hell has DSF been? I'm kindling of missing his brand of reasoning lately.

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#117 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 12:12PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Horcoff misses a one-times in the slot.Dubnyk lets in a soft goal.Same old , same old.

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#118 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 01:35PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

Buzz gets third start in a row.

And the reasoning behind this...... Eakins wants to work on his CONDITIONING! For the love of Michelle Jenneke Eakins needs to start making decisions based on other factors than CONDITIONING.

Starting Dubnyk tonight would be the right move. He is a very strange coach.

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#119 LoweBlow
December 01 2013, 04:10PM
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Who's the girl?? Seriously.

Gordo isn't playing. Uh oh..... Now we find out how valuable he is. I have a feeling, he's extremely valuable.

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#120 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 04:29PM
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@Spydyr

“Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.”

QFT

Oilers have a lot of assets. If only we could get a new competent experienced prez to set up his own hockey operations with the oilers current assets and use them properly to improve the club. This draft and hope approach the current brass takes isn't working.

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#121 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 01 2013, 05:36PM
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Classic Oilers. Please don't be injured Bryz...

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#122 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 05:48PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

According to Quinn only 3 minutes left in regulation time. Bad game but I think there is another period left.

Only 12.5 more years of high quality Sportsnet coverage. Coincidentally could be that many years of no Edmonton Oilers in playoffs.

You know what would be perfect.If Lowe became available to serve as a colour man.Man, that would be sweet.

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#123 Alsker
December 01 2013, 05:56PM
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Oh great a + for 89+83 on Jones' good play. Another week of hearing how important the two floaters are to us...baaahhhh...Our D-men seemed just as lost in the Ozone as they do do in the D-zone...time for more rum.

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#124 Alsker
December 01 2013, 06:02PM
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cain wrote:

Remember long ago when somebody ran your goalie, someone,anyone, would at LEAST give the offending player a punch or push or slash or jab or something??????

Hey Justin Schultz...he just ran your goaltender...do something besides skate by and look at the referee....Nice work,Nancy, I think you just showed in one play why we are so easy to play against.

A push,slash, lol, remember when it would be a line brawl, blood on the ice,missing teeth,standing ovations,50+ min in penalties. QSB remembers I'm sure.

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#125 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 06:10PM
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Dammit gags. That was your man. And here I was just defending you.

#lesson learned

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#126 Alsker
December 01 2013, 06:22PM
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cain wrote:

Exactly my point.

You don't have to be tough enough to win a fight every night against everybody.

You damn sure better be tough enough to at least show up when somebody messes with your teammate and have the guts to poke,punch,slash or facewash someone...doesn't even have to be harsh enough to warrant a penalty. Just show up.

Heck, just finish a check once in a while. I'm choked with way too many guys turning away instead of just shoulder to shoulder check, nothing earth shattering just a simple hit. Its such a big deal when someone actually does what every kid from 10 years old and up does every game. Maybe I'm old school but how hard is it really?

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#127 Alsker
December 01 2013, 06:45PM
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Was that the best 5 minutes we played all year?

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#128 Alsker
December 01 2013, 07:07PM
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@LoweBlow

Alcohol or not, you forgot the Greb one..or have you actually seen him worse than tonight. Wait a minute, come to think of it, I'm sure we've seen him worse than tonight. Sorry. As for predator vs. omnivore Ill vote for Carnivore. Preferably Raptor type(as we have no individual toughness), pack attack might be our best hope.

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#129 Poolanov
December 01 2013, 07:49PM
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Arius Mumin wrote:

Since Egins decided to take Yakupov off the 1st PP unit, we haven't had a 1st PP unit.

Someone should let Eberle and Hall know its called a POWERPLAY, and not a fun opportunity for you adn your funboy to cycle the puck along the boards for the #@$% of it.

Just who is this Egins fellow anyhow? We should fire him too, I reckon.

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#130 Oilerz4life
December 01 2013, 10:01PM
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Spydyr wrote:

No Oiler deserves to be mentioned for team Canada. Full stop.

Not sure what you are getting at with this second team Canada.It does not exist in the real world.Maybe the Oilers would be better in the second NHL.

Eberle is and fully deserves to be mentioned for team Team Canada.

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#131 Spydyr
December 02 2013, 06:52AM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

Eberle is and fully deserves to be mentioned for team Team Canada.

Yeah right.

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#132 post to post
December 01 2013, 09:32AM
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Stats Man

If we can hit 9 posts per game, that's 3 per period and 1 post for the number one line each period, then we shall get rewarded with another post in overtime.

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#133 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 10:17AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Sure, why the heck not.

Are you in it for a top 3 pick this season? Or, limited success landing them in that dead 20th-25th zone?

4-zip Dallas please....

and thank you.

I'd be willing to watch another season in the basement if it was the straw that broke the camels back. ( the camel being Lowes position with the oilers ). Sadly I don't think he is ever going to be fired.

The oilers record so far hasn't garnered any significant change why would one more season of loosing. I'm only cheering for wins.

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#134 camdog
December 01 2013, 11:08AM
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tileguy wrote:

When an article begins with boxcars and Cori and tells us about good things happening I have to chuckle. Looking with my eyes I see a team loaded with small, soft players that were wonderkids in junior but not suited for the nhl game. Blow this dam rebuild up, make some trades and overlay for some toughness and grit. It will make the remain skill better. OGDP oilers loose again.

Curious what the Oilers Corsi and boxcar numbers are against playoff teams relative to non playoff teams. If the numbers could be calibrated to suit the opposition's abilities I think this would be a better reflection of where they are headed. From my count we are 1-14 against playoff teams.

As to the wonder kids they are excellent NHL players. In 2-3 years, when they are surrounded by the right mix of players they will be ready to lead an NHL team. It's not the kids fault's that management is incompetant.

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#135 pelhem grenville
December 01 2013, 11:10AM
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LT ...this runner...and the way you've shamelessly showed her so provocatively ...

thankyou sir...

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#136 michael
December 01 2013, 12:02PM
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The Nucks decided to take out their misery on the the hapless Canes. 2-0 first period for the Nucks. See this one ending badly for the Canes. Where the heck is Jordan Stahl? He has been near invisible. 8 points for 6 million a year? You think we have defensive issues?

Come on DSF time to spew a little of your own brand of special.

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#137 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 02:56PM
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David S wrote:

[EDIT] - Don't post hungover kids.

Starting Bryz kind of makes sense. He needs some game time to get back up to speed and let's face it, maybe one of the four he let in on Friday was stoppable. The whole team just played flat out crap.

In his first full game it was patently obvious he was far better technically than Dubnyk. If I were Eakins I'd need to see what he's got. Like it or not you can't do that in practice.

Call me a dreamer but I'm hoping they are sitting Dubnyk because he is getting traded along with someone else for a upgrade in net.

Now that would be bold.

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#138 Dog Train
December 01 2013, 03:36PM
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I still can't stand Dallas. Bryzgalov will bounce back and Arcobello will make the most of his likely bump up the lineup with Gordon out. Oilers find a way to win 3-2.

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#139 Arius Mumin
December 01 2013, 04:35PM
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Hall can't even be a POWER forward on a POWERplay. If Katz's kid wanted to draft Yakupov, then Katz must be Hall's daddy.

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#140 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 05:47PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Jones shows the kids what hitting does.Kids are still to "good" to hit anyone.

Jones has been playing half decently effective hockey lately. He seems to have found a nice niche playing with arco.

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#141 Oilerz4life
December 01 2013, 05:49PM
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Danger Pay wrote:

Hey give Grebs some credit, he lasted 2.5 games before his 1st costly turnover.

Place Mac-T and Garbagekov on waivers. Fire Eakins. Put Bryzgalov in as player-coach.

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#142 Mikey
December 01 2013, 06:26PM
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Jeff petry has no idea what to do on a two on one. I am done with with him. Trade him while he still has some value.

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#143 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 06:40PM
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Jeez. What an overtime so far. Play the whole game like that.

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#144 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 06:53PM
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Mikey wrote:

Gagner had nothing to do with that second goal. First, last back it didn't matter the puck was already in the net. Be smarter than that.

Also check the replay he was the first forward back.

I love gags but It was the lazy play at the centre line that's got the ire up. Gagner coasted lazily as the goal scorer rushed passed him to the open ice. Petry messed up too.

But who cares. They won!

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#145 Stack Pad Save
December 01 2013, 07:30PM
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Didn't watch the first 2 periods, why was Yakupov benched in the 3rd?

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#146 Smokey
December 01 2013, 07:43PM
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GK1980 wrote:

Again, is hustling and hard work tough to do? These guys need to play like OT. Season is over and they have nothing to lose.

4 on 4 hockey. Free wheeling. They can compete with any team with time and space. The effort was there from late in 3rd on. Dallas let off the peddle a bit in the third. They were ditgustingly bad on TO in the game at times. Zone entries were brutal. Bryz and Dubby won the game. Great effort by all the tenders.

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#147 Arius Mumin
December 01 2013, 07:53PM
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@Poolanov

It is Eakins know it all ego. Keep Fit and Have Fun-Oilers key to powerplay success.

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#148 Todd
December 02 2013, 09:45AM
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S cottV wrote:

Yes - just saw it on Sportsnet. Petry has almost no awareness of Garbutt which is the main problem. That being said - did Gagner have a window of opportunity to assist directly? because a great down low centreman needs to bail out a d man mistake every now and again. Gagner should probably have read that Petry was in trouble. What we dont know is whether or not he slowed up at all on the backcheck where otherwise he might have got there, if that was the play - given that there may have been no immediate trailer threat.

If you watch the replay very closely, right before Gagner goes off screen, he swivels his head back and checks for HIS man, who would be the 3rd man/trailer on a 2-2. This is absolutely the correct play and that split second decision ensures he could not possibly have got back in time to bail out Petry from his lack of coverage even if he realized there was no trailer anywhere.

I realize many on here loathe Gagner and try to blame him any chance they get. But you need to apply some understanding of correct team coverage before you single out a player for not going out of position to cover the errors of another player.

I'm not a Gagner apologist, nor do I think he is amazing defensively in any sense of the word. Perhaps Datzuk would have had the super hockey sense to jump the gun, except Petry to completely leave his man alone in front of the net and help. But in this case he doesn't deserve to be singled out for another players mistake.

Avatar
#149 peaches
December 01 2013, 09:45AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Ok, who's the girl at the bottom? Those legs... mmmm...

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#150 PutzStew
December 01 2013, 10:14AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Ryan2 wrote:

Ference is exactly what he was advertised to be coming out of Boston - a #4/#5 on a playoff team. Fans that expected more were fooling themselves or do not watch enough hockey outside of the Oilers. The fact that he is miscast as a top pairing player speaks more to the weakness of the Oilers' blueline than anything else.

As I have posted here before, this was a bad deal for MacT as he overpaid in both price and term for a smaller bottom pairing d-man that is on the downside of his career. He reminds me of Jason Smith at the end, and the next couple of years we should see a similar drop off in his effectiveness. Maybe MacT was counting on his leadership as the main reason for bringing him in, but he paid a steep price for that.

It pains me to type this, but as of last night the Flames are 4 points clear of the Oilers with a game in hand. Top 3 pick here we come yet again.

Thankfully Eakins has identified the problem - a lack of fitness. Funny, I thought that is the main reason he was brought in as HC. What a joke.

Fully agree about Ferance. I think he's been type casted into a role that he doesn't belong on this team. Not the first time this team has done that.

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