December 13 2013 12:16PM
Devan Dubnyk is an interesting case study. He has proven he can play in the NHL, and make timely saves, however, he has also shown monumental lapses in focus that result in him allowing an easy goal, usually from 50-60 feet out. Last night, Dubnyk made four or five huge saves early in the game, when the Bruins were all over the Oilers. The Oilers need those types of saves from Dubnyk, but then in an instant all of those great saves are erased, and the team gets deflated when Dubnyk allows a Dennis Seidenberg floater from the blueline to make it 1-0.
The Oilers ended up trailing 3-0 after the first period, and while Dubnyk wasn't at fault on the final two goals, he didn't start the second period. Eakins explained his decision to change goalies, "It wasn't a mercy pull, it wasn't because the first one went in from far out, I just thought we needed to make a change in the net."
Eakins wisely didn't throw his goalie under the bus, but I wonder if that goal was the beginning of the end of Dubnyk's time in Edmonton?
Dubnyk has proven he can play in the NHL, but he's also proven he susceptible to giving up weak goals. Every goalie will allow a weak goal, but Dubnyk has allowed them too often in 2013, and unless he goes 10-15 games without one, I'm not sure how much confidence the organization will have in him moving forward.
Will they re-sign him to be their starter next year? At this point, I think they only re-sign him at part of a tandem, I don't see them starting next season with him as their clear cut number one.
Dubnyk's struggles are mental mistakes, not physical ones, and it is very plausible that he could go to another market and play well. Some players need a change of scenery and a fresh start, but the Oilers need more consistent and reliable goaltending moving forward.
Let's be clear, Dubnyk isn't the only Oiler who struggles with consistency. The entire team is guilty of that, but the harsh reality of his position is that when he makes a mental mistake, it usually ends up in the back of the net. If a forward makes a dumb play at the offensive blueline, it often won't result in a goal.
There is a lot of pressure on starting goalies, but they also receive lots of praise and money if they perform. Pressure is a major part of being a goalie, and unfortunately for Dubnyk, he has shown a tendency to lose his focus or succumb to the pressure of the position.
Last summer Craig MacTavish said, "If you have to ask the question, then you know the answer," when referring to whether or not Dubnyk was a proven starting goalie.
Seven months later, nothing has changed. Dubnyk is still battling "weak goalitis" and the Oilers aren't any closer to knowing who their goalie of the future is.
Last season, despite allowing some weak goals Dubnyk still managed a very good 0.920 SV%, but this year he's still giving up soft goals, but his SV% is 0.890. Teams can accept the odd weak goal, when your SV% is .920, but this season Dubnyk's overall play has regressed.
I've learned that completely writing off a player who has shown he can excel in the league, can often bite you in the ass in the future. I'm not ready to suggest Dubnyk won't be a solid NHL goalie, but I think the chance of that happening in Edmonton is diminishing by the day.
I'm not sure they will have the confidence to let him be their starter next season, but I also think a change of scenery could help Dubnyk.
The Oilers are looking for stability throughout their lineup, and at the end of the season, or before the trade deadline, I'm sure Eakins and MacTavish will have a conversation about which players the coach wants to keep, and which ones he'd rather not have heading into next season.
Right now, Dubnyk likely fits in the latter category, and unless the weak goals disappear from his repertoire over the next few months, he'll stay there.
- Luke Gazdic continues to give his team a boost when he drops the gloves, and with his overall play. Gazdic has been very good in his role as a pugilist, and he is getting better every game as a player. Gazdic's teammates love his spirit and willingness to do a job that none of them, and none of us, would or could do.
Gazdic doesn't make mistakes in his own zone, and his skating is good enough to get around. When you look at players on the Oilers who accept their role, and perform it to the best of their ability every game, Gazdic is near the top of that list.
It takes incredible courage to do what Gazdic does, especially against guys like Lucic, Bordeleau and McGratton, and the Oilers need more players to match his courage. Not as fighters, but as players willing to do anything and everything to help the team win.
- David Perron just keeps getting better, and you hope that eventually his tenacity and determination rubs off on the other skilled forwards. Perron is gritty, greasy, chirpy and very skilled. He's also being forced to learn how to play defence courtesy of the St. Louis Blues, and that reflects in his game. You don't see Perron giving up the puck as often as the other skilled players. Perron is older than RNH, Hall, Eberle and Yakupov so experience likely plays a factor in that, but they should look at him to realize that playing good defence won't limiting your scoring chances.
- Jesse Joensuu has played much better the past two games. He is moving his feet and the past few games he's started to use his big frame to make life difficult for opposing D-men. If he keeps playing like that, I think he'll become a bigger factor in games.
- Here is another example of why I love the spirit and generosity of Edmontonians. Yesterday on my show Michelle Derk generously donated her realtor commission when selling your house. We were near the end of the show and Patrick and Mick were in a bidding war at $4,500. Michelle text me and said if both agree to pay $5,000 (all proceeds went to charity) she would waive her commission on both their houses. She was losing out on potentially $15,000-$18,000 in commissions, but she wanted to help the charities.
When I asked Patrick and Mick, without hesitation they both agreed, so we ended up raising $10,000 yesterday. That is unreal.
If you are planning on selling you house in the near future, I highly recommend you call Michelle. She is a mother of three and her heart is in the right place. Michelle, Patrick and Mick you three made my day. Thank you.
DAY 11...MONTH OF GIVING...
After yesterday's unreal $10,000 donations we are up to $42,950.00 in ten days. That is incredible.
Today's package includes...
The Eskimos VIP Package:
- Two seats in the Presidents Suite with Len Rhodes to watch the game.
- Complimentary food and beverages all game.
- Two signed Eskimos jerseys. You can pick which colour and which player's jersey you want.
- You will be chauffeured to and from the game in an Escalade courtesy of Budget Car and Truck Rentals.
You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or 1.800.243.1945 between 2-6 p.m. today.
Thanks in advance.