GDB 34.0: Once More Unto The Breach

Jonathan Willis
December 13 2013 01:56PM

It’s a fair bet that Edmonton Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins did not and will not quote Shakespeare when talking to his team today, but doubtless both he and fans of the Oilers would like to see the spirit embodied in Henry V’s speech as they play the Vancouver Canucks tonight.

“Lend The Eye A Terrible Aspect"

But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage; Then lend the eye a terrible aspect… Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.

David Perron did a pretty good job of that sort of thing last night, and has all season. It’s not just that he’s driving scoring chances (though he is, and that’s the most important thing) but that he’s tenacious and battles at both ends of the rink. I thought Eakins summed him up nicely this afternoon:

It’s something the rest of the lineup needs to imitate. Taylor Hall has been that kind of player before, hard and physical and clearly giving it his all on the ice, but he wasn’t last night and hasn’t been all too frequently this season. With a tired Oilers team facing a rested contender in Vancouver, they desperately need that kind of play from Hall.

The Lineup

We don’t know what the Oilers’ lineup tonight is going to look like, but we do know from the team’s official Twitter feed that Devan Dubnyk will start and that Boyd Gordon is both ready to play and likely to play.

I liked the shift that Eakins made late against Boston, moving Jesse Joensuu to Sam Gagner’s line and Hall to play with Mark Arcobello and Ales Hemsky, and I would keep those trios together tonight. In the absence of official information, I’ll just post the lines I would run if I were in Eakins shoes tonight:

  • F1. David Perron – Ryan Nugent- Hopkins – Jordan Eberle. They’ve just been too good to split up. I was tempted to bump Eberle down to Hall’s wing in an effort to get the latter going but I would not want to mess with this trio.
  • F2. Taylor Hall – Mark Arcobello – Ales Hemsky. Hall and Hemsky have played well together in the past, and Arcobello had great chemistry with Hall in Oklahoma. More than that, Arcobello has outplayed Gagner all season and deserves this shot.
  • F3. Jesse Joensuu – Sam Gagner – Nail Yakupov. Joensuu looked really good versus Boston and adds some nice things to this extremely soft minutes line.
  • F4. Luke Gadzic – Boyd Gordon – Anton Lander. Assuming that Ryan Smyth is still injured, this would be my choice for the fourth line tonight. Gazdic played well against Boston and if you’re packing around an enforcer this game is one where he might be good to have. Gordon/Lander gives the line two faceoff men and this unit would be used almost entirely as a defensive zone line.
  • D1. Andrew Ference – Jeff Petry. Petry looked pretty good last night and none of the options for this role are ideal; this is what the Oilers have.
  • D2. Anton Belov – Justin Schultz. This pair had some nice moments together and would be the Oilers go-to offensive zone unit.
  • D3. Nick Schultz – Corey Potter. Philip Larsen had a bad game last night, and the demotion of Martin Marincin suggests that Potter’s ready to play. Ordinarily, I’d keep Larsen in on the third pair, but because this is a back-to-back there’s some value in having fresh legs.
  • G1. Devan Dubnyk. We know that Eakins is rolling Dubnyk, and the bottom line here is that we know Jason LaBarbera has no future in Edmonton. It makes sense to use the guy who a) has been better over the long term and b) will still be on the NHL roster after Ilya Bryzgalov gets healthy.

Predictions

Game Day Prediction: Four games ago I was pessimistic about the Oilers chances against a hot Colorado team and predicted a 5-1 loss. Edmonton won 8-2. Tonight I predict another 5-1 loss.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: This is the first time Zack Kassian will play the Oilers since breaking Gagner’s jaw with his stick, and Edmonton won’t forget that. Gazdic will drop the gloves with Kassian the first chance he gets, and moreover he’ll fare better than Ben Eager did last season.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Gagner, demoted to the third line and rapidly falling out of favour with Oilers fans, will enjoy a very solid game in his new role and do most of the work in setting up Edmonton’s lone goal, which will come from Jesse Joensuu.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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.
Avatar
#101 **
December 13 2013, 09:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

I was expecting the Oilers to lose all their games on this road trip (plus Boston yesterda and st. louis when tey come back home), but at least yesterday against the Bruins they made it fun to watch. Tonight it is just embarrasing and boring.

Avatar
#102 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 13 2013, 09:31PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

#BombErForConnor2015

Avatar
#103 **
December 13 2013, 09:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Rod from Viking wrote:

Ok,3-0, time for Gadzic to pay a visit to Kassian

By now we know GAzdic is no coward. I think he was told by the coach to leave KAssian alone. Why? well that's the question.

Avatar
#104 Derian Hatcher
December 13 2013, 09:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
19
cheers

Are 20 and 26 the only two players on this team with ANY stones???? What a bunch of skirts. Absolutely pathetic. How the $&@&$ Do these dough boys collect their cheques with any dignity. This organization is a complete and utter joke. Nice pride boys...keep it rolling you overpaid prima donnas.

Edit: should have also included 57 with 20 &26 but it was difficult to think straight with my head in the oven.

Avatar
#105 RexHolez
December 13 2013, 09:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

There goes another wasted night staying up watching this team

Change the assistant coaches Get Bryzy healthy And lets see one of those bold moves already

This team needs a breathe of air to resuscitate it

Avatar
#106 YFC Prez
December 13 2013, 09:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
Asian on Oilers Nation wrote:

#ConnorMcDavidForOilers2015

This is so depressing. Reality is we have a shot at mcdavid

* curls in ball on couch and cries hysterically into his coffee mug of low quality scotch*

Oilers aren't making this stuff any better tonight.

Avatar
#107 Zamboni Driver
December 13 2013, 09:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

It's a sad statement on the Oilers when you think about the organization has no better players to put out there than the gutless and heartless Hemsky, the braindead GROSSLY overrated Gagner, and having one decent D would be nice. Just one.

And now...to California.

No problem.

Avatar
#108 Time Travelling Sean
December 13 2013, 09:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

I'm getting depressed. It's demoralizing as a fan, I feel sorry for Perron, from St.Louis to this...although St.Louis wasn't very good for quite a while........ maybe :c

Avatar
#109 YFC Prez
December 13 2013, 09:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Derian Hatcher wrote:

Are 20 and 26 the only two players on this team with ANY stones???? What a bunch of skirts. Absolutely pathetic. How the $&@&$ Do these dough boys collect their cheques with any dignity. This organization is a complete and utter joke. Nice pride boys...keep it rolling you overpaid prima donnas.

Edit: should have also included 57 with 20 &26 but it was difficult to think straight with my head in the oven.

What I wouldn't give to have a primed Derian Hatcher on this team.

Avatar
#110 Zamboni Driver
December 13 2013, 09:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Though at least Taylor Hall will do us proud in Sochi. [He's good at luge, I think, right?]

Avatar
#111 **
December 13 2013, 09:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

Well at least Gagner and Dubnyk weren't the only ones dubnyking around. This one was a team effort.

Avatar
#112 Asian on Oilers Nation
December 13 2013, 09:40PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

@YFC Prez

Maybe we'll start winning by the time we draft him! Lets start by grabbing PK out of Montreal first though. We need a #1 d-man.

Avatar
#113 cubsfan
December 13 2013, 09:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
RexHolez wrote:

There goes another wasted night staying up watching this team

Change the assistant coaches Get Bryzy healthy And lets see one of those bold moves already

This team needs a breathe of air to resuscitate it

everybody wants a bold move.....in fairness every team is looking for centers and d-men.....if they have them they dont trade them

oilers are not in a position of strength......gazdic and perron are the few guys with value......cant trade them......they are the only guys with any heart and pride

what a shame, i was looking forward to this year.......

Avatar
#114 RexHolez
December 13 2013, 09:41PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

I'm surprised they played luongo tonight. They must be trying to help him look good for the Olympic selection!

Avatar
#115 **
December 13 2013, 09:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
Zamboni Driver wrote:

Though at least Taylor Hall will do us proud in Sochi. [He's good at luge, I think, right?]

He used to be good at skeleton, going head first beside the boards, but then he got hurt and needed surgery and now has retired from that.

Avatar
#116 **
December 13 2013, 09:44PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Serious Gord wrote:

Re the CBC broadcast.

Just remember most of these guys are out of job at the end of the season.

Karma's a beeotch.

Can I get a hallelujah!!!

Avatar
#117 Hockey fan 1976
December 13 2013, 09:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

LMAO. Talk about adding salt to the wound, the freaking 4th line scores a power play goal on these losers!!! Eakins and his coaches zero emotion on the bench. Please someone throw a f$!;@ burger or nachos over to Eakins. He always looks hungry.

Avatar
#118 ?
December 13 2013, 09:46PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
cubsfan wrote:

everybody wants a bold move.....in fairness every team is looking for centers and d-men.....if they have them they dont trade them

oilers are not in a position of strength......gazdic and perron are the few guys with value......cant trade them......they are the only guys with any heart and pride

what a shame, i was looking forward to this year.......

Gazdic's limited ability won't get you much more than a 6th rounder though. Dealing draft picks is the way EDM has to bring in some good players, that and wait for FA.

They won't be this bad all year long, so holding your breath for Ekblad or Reinhart is a fool's errand

Avatar
#119 tileguy
December 13 2013, 09:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Derian Hatcher wrote:

Are 20 and 26 the only two players on this team with ANY stones???? What a bunch of skirts. Absolutely pathetic. How the $&@&$ Do these dough boys collect their cheques with any dignity. This organization is a complete and utter joke. Nice pride boys...keep it rolling you overpaid prima donnas.

Edit: should have also included 57 with 20 &26 but it was difficult to think straight with my head in the oven.

Wouldn,t it be cool if the players had to go to Katz to receive a cheque.

Avatar
#120 **
December 13 2013, 09:47PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
Hockey fan 1976 wrote:

LMAO. Talk about adding salt to the wound, the freaking 4th line scores a power play goal on these losers!!! Eakins and his coaches zero emotion on the bench. Please someone throw a f$!;@ burger or nachos over to Eakins. He always looks hungry.

I have trouble figuring out that last goal was a slap in the face or a punch in the sack to the Oilers Nation. Eakins looks like an anorexic girl. Loved how Kassian stared Perron down and then went behind a ref when Gazdic was coming at him.

Avatar
#121 Ryan2
December 13 2013, 09:49PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
YFC Prez wrote:

This is so depressing. Reality is we have a shot at mcdavid

* curls in ball on couch and cries hysterically into his coffee mug of low quality scotch*

Oilers aren't making this stuff any better tonight.

No, the Oilers will improve enough to miss out on him........

The problem for this team is that it won the #1 pick in three years when there was not a stud #1 centerman available. Tavares went #1 a year before Hall, and McKinnon last year is likely going to end up better than Nuge as well. The Oilers were fine taking the players that they did (maybe Galchenyuk instead of Yak would be a better fit), but they missed out on a superstar centerman in all three years.

Avatar
#122 YFC Prez
December 13 2013, 09:50PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
? wrote:

Gazdic's limited ability won't get you much more than a 6th rounder though. Dealing draft picks is the way EDM has to bring in some good players, that and wait for FA.

They won't be this bad all year long, so holding your breath for Ekblad or Reinhart is a fool's errand

I keep thinking they can't be this bad for much longer as well. I get all high on hopium when they show up for a couple games and then come crashing back down to reality. They suck.

Avatar
#123 Bloodsweatandoil
December 13 2013, 09:52PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

What a crock of sh&t!!!

If the Oilers put Dubnyk on waivers to go to the minors, would any other NHL claim him?

Just don't care anymore. I used to blame coaching at the beginning of this season, now its the players.

15 guys lacking heart and soul...

Time to move a center piece guy just for the sake of moving him, this team needs a major shake up and a wake up call now.

Management cannot be this blind and deaf!

Avatar
#124 YAKCITY64
December 13 2013, 09:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

So funny all of the oilers fans were so ragging on Torts as a possibility as a coach and not that I'm a fan but when you watch this game Vancouvers 4th line plays every shift every minute like its their last and that is all coaching. Our team plays like they think their coach is scared to make a tough decision and that is obvious. Time to make some tough decisions Eakins failing to do so doesn't give anyone confidence.

Avatar
#125 Derian Hatcher
December 13 2013, 09:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers
tileguy wrote:

Wouldn,t it be cool if the players had to go to Katz to receive a cheque.

Katz would be too busy falling all over himself asking for autographs. "Hey Hallsey,Ebs,Nuge,you want to go To one of my drug stores for some hair spray and axe? I get 50 percent off. Come on boys, kLowe's driving"

Avatar
#126 Ryan2
December 13 2013, 09:54PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Time Travelling Sean wrote:

I'm getting depressed. It's demoralizing as a fan, I feel sorry for Perron, from St.Louis to this...although St.Louis wasn't very good for quite a while........ maybe :c

Don't feel sorry for him. He will pump up his stats and then request a trade later this year or next and be gone to a contender that will allow him to freewheel more than St. Louis did. He has value, and if the team is still a basement dweller at the deadline this year he could be gone. His salary is reasonable for a player producing at his level, and since the acquiring team will have him under contract for one or two more seasons he has higher value.

Avatar
#127 Andy7190
December 13 2013, 10:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
cubsfan wrote:

we need some truculence.....im tired of watching these guys not checking, getting pushed around and not sticking up for themselves or their mates

the Sedins look like the broad street bullies compares to us

"truculence"...

A new buzzword in Calgary these days...

Avatar
#128 Andy7190
December 13 2013, 10:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Rod from Viking wrote:

Don't you know Vancouver is the 5 time defending Stanley Cup Champion.(lol)

At least they don't have any rings to talk about...

Avatar
#129 camdog
December 13 2013, 10:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Anybody notice that this team is built exactly in the same mold as Kevin Lowe's last 3 years as GM? Why is that???

Avatar
#130 Andy7190
December 13 2013, 10:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
camdog wrote:

Anybody notice that this team is built exactly in the same mold as Kevin Lowe's last 3 years as GM? Why is that???

Because Kevin Lowe never left.

Or rather, was never told to leave.

Avatar
#131 Ari Gold
December 13 2013, 10:35PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

That effort was unacceptable. I'm embarrassed to be an Oiler fan today, worse than before.

Avatar
#132 camdog
December 13 2013, 10:39PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Andy7190 wrote:

Because Kevin Lowe never left.

Or rather, was never told to leave.

Just about every single player has left the organisation, heck even the towel body were let go and multiple coaches were dismissed There remains one constant.

No other team in the league has built teams like the Oilers have. I know they said it wouldn't work in the 80's and that is what Kevin Lowe has been selling to Katz. This might be news to Lowe and Katz but we don't have a Gretzky, we don't have a Messier, we don't have a Kurri, we don't have a Coffey, we don't have a Moog/Fuhr. Maybe in 3-4 years of development our young guns will develop into stars, but I still don't see them developing into stars that transend the game like we did in the 80's. Until Lowe and Katz realize this we will continue to lose!

Avatar
#133 Derian Hatcher
December 13 2013, 10:44PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Andy7190 wrote:

Because Kevin Lowe never left.

Or rather, was never told to leave.

But Lowe has won six cups.......if there's ever a concern.

Avatar
#134 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
December 13 2013, 10:56PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

Life is hell without a couple top pairing blueliners.

29th place is all ours by the end of this road trip. Good thing Lowe knows so much about winning.

Avatar
#135 madjam
December 13 2013, 11:16PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

It appears the more we hand the reins over to our young draftees , Gagner included - the worse they and we get. Chiarelli (Boston ) says they won't draft players under 200 lbs-drafting by weight more than even height. How many of our youth is over 200 lbs.? Kind of explains how big teams push out team around so easily/readily does it not .

Avatar
#136 Bryzarro World
December 14 2013, 12:07AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Heff I fart in da woods, does bear smell it?

I just blow your universe

Avatar
#137 Rocket
December 14 2013, 12:28AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Well I'm out for a while. What's the point anymore?

I work hard for my paycheck. The Oilers clearly don't.

Avatar
#138 Rocket
December 14 2013, 12:29AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Life is hell without a couple top pairing blueliners.

29th place is all ours by the end of this road trip. Good thing Lowe knows so much about winning.

I just joined the dark-side. It's actually quite crowded in here.

Oh right, The Oilers suck. That explains it.

Avatar
#139 Rdubb
December 14 2013, 02:27AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Johnathon, your so-called predications where OUT TO LUNCH, except for the score, and the monkey from TSN could have gotten close to that one too, your others...way far off, and I mean WAY... All you need to do is listen to any call-in radio show and you'd know the fans are pissed with gagner's compete level this season, his lack of defense (since there hasn't been any)... For someone who is more "in-tune" with the Oilers and around the team a whole lot more, your "predications" should much much closer than these where...just a thought

Avatar
#140 **
December 14 2013, 03:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Rocket wrote:

I just joined the dark-side. It's actually quite crowded in here.

Oh right, The Oilers suck. That explains it.

Mac T needs to bring top talent that also battles every night. I don`t want a PK Subban joining the bag of marshmallows in the Oilers dressing room. Subban is a top talent, but he likes to take nights off. Same with Karlsson in Ottawa

Comments are closed for this article.