GDB 30.0: Blue

Jonathan Willis
December 05 2013 06:22PM

The Edmonton Oilers play the Colorado Avalanche tonight sans two of their top-four defencemen. Jeff Petry is a healthy scratch; Anton Belov has been demoted to Oklahoma City.

The Remainder

Edmonton will ice the following not remotely NHL-caliber blue line against the Avs:

  • Justin Schultz
  • Andrew Ference
  • Nick Schultz
  • Philip Larsen
  • Corey Potter
  • Martin Marincin

Some of that's poor roster construction, but some of it is decisions by the coaching staff.

Either way, the Oilers go into tonight's game against Colorado (tied with Pittsburgh as the sixth highest-scoring team in the NHL) with almost nothing on the back end.

The Lines

We don't know the lines; all we know for sure is that they're going to be different, both because of the changes in personnel and possibly owing to other factors:

Update: As expected, the lines change:

Predictions

Game day prediction: Let's say 5-1 Colorado.

Obvious game day prediction: Nathan MacKinnon moves ahead of Mark Arcobello for the rookie assists lead when he picks up two tonight. 

No-so-obvious game day prediction: Luke Gazdic will score the Oilers' only goal, crashing hard to the net and redirecting Anton Lander's shot past Colorado's goaltender. 

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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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#101 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 10:36PM
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* pulls foot out of mouth * Ya so that lineup worked pretty darn good there mr Eakins. Shame on all who doubted you.

* slowly shuffles away with hands in pockets and whistling a jaunty tune *

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#102 A-Mc
December 05 2013, 10:36PM
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The real question now is will Eakins keep his winning roster the same? Or does Petry slot back in just cause?

You have to adhere to the code!! You win, the roster stays the same.

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#103 Danger Pay
December 05 2013, 10:37PM
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TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!

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#104 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 10:38PM
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Danger Pay wrote:

Stranger things have happened, if the Oilers can with stand the first 10 mins, maybe they have a chance? Just a little optimism from seberia here boys, relax.

So. Tell us all. How did you do that ?

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#105 Alsker
December 05 2013, 10:39PM
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Jekyll and Hyde thing is better than nightly suckage.

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#106 Danger Pay
December 05 2013, 10:47PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

So. Tell us all. How did you do that ?

Well you know what they say boys, that a little opitiminilism can go a long way, and I hate to say "I toadaso" but "I &@#%ing toadaso."

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#107 LOIL
December 05 2013, 10:51PM
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dawgtoy wrote:

Is a team allowed to demote its head coach? If so, I'd say send Eakins to OKC and call up Todd Nelson. That is all!

No, they cant

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#108 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 10:57PM
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Danger Pay wrote:

Well you know what they say boys, that a little opitiminilism can go a long way, and I hate to say "I toadaso" but "I &@#%ing toadaso."

Optimism and oiler fan are almost night and day after all the recent years of sucktitude.

The oilers are 6-4 in the last 10.

That surprised me when I read it. Consumed in my own negativity.

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#109 Mychew
December 05 2013, 11:02PM
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The oilers still suck but they blow me away sometimes.

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#110 ValleyviewSports
December 05 2013, 11:37PM
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It's a damn good thing the majority of the players showed up and played tonight. it shows Eakins CAN motivate and hasn't lost the room, which I think was a valid worry. This drubbing should go a long way towards better cohesion on the ice night in night out. I don't think the score was necessarily reflective of the state of the game all around, Larsen and Potter had some real scrambly moments but Dubnyk had some huge stops at the right times. All around, with the lines blendered and this outcome, this should do a lot towards the confidence of the team/with on another. Not complaining whatsoever, that was a treat to watch Varlamov fill the role that has so often been on our side...PRAY HE IS THE STARTER FOR THE RUSKIS IN SOCHI.

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#111 Rod from Viking
December 05 2013, 11:46PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Hard to see how this ends in an oiler win.

6-2 Colorado. And I have never been mor confident in a prediction this year.

JESUS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZR58d77a4A

My Streakcred went for shi# tonight, my predictions didn't work out to good either.

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#112 **
December 05 2013, 11:51PM
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8-2 and the defence looked the best it has in probably the whole season. defense by committee instead of giving Petry all those minutes he can't handle. Marincin was solid and he makes his size be felt even with that lanky frame. That third line was rock n roll. The fourth line looked really solid. 5 of the top six were very engaged, Gagner needs a trip to the press box. Arcobello either made Eakins eat his words from the other day or showed Eakins is a maquiavellic motivator. Eakins wins round one on the battle of the rookie coaches. I admit I thought it was going to be a score like this but the other way. Nice to be wrong.

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#113 **
December 06 2013, 12:00AM
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Ari Gold wrote:

Seriously, this team has bipolar disorder. They blow em out or get blown out. I can't take this anymore....

I'll take this over losing 5 in a row any day

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#114 Ales Hallsky
December 06 2013, 12:03AM
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Less talk more ghost ride the whip!!

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#115 FlamesRule
December 06 2013, 12:11AM
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@West

Oiler website can't be blamed - this is NHL all the way

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#116 Rheal1
December 06 2013, 04:49AM
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Two facts:

1. Oilers win by 6 goals=highly unlikely to re-occur. 2. On TSN the Oilers win gathers nil comments as of 04h47MT. Habs win gathers 6 full pages of comments. Hmmmm. 3. Saturday vs Calgary will see what Oilers have as a team.

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#117 Eulers
December 06 2013, 06:45AM
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For a night, the Oilers taught the Avalanche what it feels like to be the Oilers.

Seriously though, demoting Belov ranks right up there with trading Smid for magic beans and demoting/sitting Arcobello with the head-scracher moves that are starting to remove scalp.

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#118 Bucknuck
December 06 2013, 07:25AM
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6 ring circus wrote:

Seriously WTF happened tonight ? How can the Oilers play so brutal one night and then come out and play like a bunch of all stars two days later unreal!!!

I dialled that 1-800 number you talked about and got Taylor Hall's place.. hmmm.

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#119 Craig1981
December 06 2013, 07:37AM
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Craig1981 wrote:

I try and not judge or criticize coaching and GMing decisions since I am aware I don't have the expertise nor the inside knowledge MacT or Eakins has. That said, this defense that is dressing tonight really tests my conviction to that Philosophy....,REALLY tests it

Conviction restored!!!!!!!!!!1

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#120 Todd
December 06 2013, 07:44AM
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Eulers wrote:

For a night, the Oilers taught the Avalanche what it feels like to be the Oilers.

Seriously though, demoting Belov ranks right up there with trading Smid for magic beans and demoting/sitting Arcobello with the head-scracher moves that are starting to remove scalp.

My gut agrees about all three. Smid, Arco & Belov. Not moves I would have done...

BUT - Team went 4-1 in the games Arco sat - Before Smid trade we had 3 wins on the season, now we have 10. - Team is 1-0 after demoting Belov

Sample sizes really small obviously, but could it be that the coach, who spends 80 hours per week with his team has a better read on the players than us fans? Just sayin....

If they can beat the Flames (hopefully 8-2, but I'll take any win) for me it'll be reason to believe the corner has turned. Like everyone, I'm skeptical from being burned so many times. But 7-3 in the last 10 is nothing to shrug off. Unless you want to also shrug off the sh1taneous first 15 games.

But if they lay an egg tomorrow, I'll be pretty disappointed.

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#121 Joe Mamma
December 06 2013, 07:46AM
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Gho-gho-g-g-ghost ride.

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#122 Greenlingj
December 06 2013, 08:21AM
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I went to the bar to get drunk to dull the pain.

I ended up black out drunk in the arms of two fine Russian women one was 6'2 the other was 6'1 and drop dead gorgeous. They both did not speak english really well but from the story they tell it went like this.

They came into the bar at around 7:20pm and I was bitching about Klowe MacT and the old boys and they assumed I was Katz and I went home with them.

I then had a dream that I awoke to the Oilers beating the Avs 8-2 and Taylor Hall having a awesome 4 point night, Smyth looked like a hockey god apparently and Arcobello took the Assist lead away from that kid MacKinnon.

So one of these is reality and one is a dream I am just not sure which at this point.

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#123 Taylor Hall's Knee
December 06 2013, 08:22AM
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looks like Willis has to do the GDB from now on...

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#124 Serious Gord
December 06 2013, 08:34AM
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Another commitment prevented me from watching the game and commenting until now.

Judging by the score Colorado got outplayed. Whether it was bad play/goaltending by Colorado or out-of-the blue perfection by the oil I could not say - I'm guessing it was somewhere in between.

For now it is a freakish anomaly in an otherwise very subpar season - not unlike gagner's little point streak a while back.

Calgary on Saturday just got a bit more interesting...

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#125 vetinari
December 06 2013, 08:51AM
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I was at a Christmas party last night and when I got home and looked up the score, I had to read it twice to make sure that it was Edmonton who had won 8-2. What the heck???

In accordance with recent tradition, does this mean that the lineup is set for the next game?

Also, when I read the score and saw that Varlamov was the goalie for all eight goals against, my first thoughts were "please tell me that he was ticked that Roy didn't pull him sooner, and that he asked for a trade right after the game..."

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#126 S cottV
December 06 2013, 08:58AM
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Human nature to get too high on a big win and too low on a big loss One of those nights when everything's going in for one team. First goal - Av's all over the Oilers - one of our guys breaks a stick and Hall fly's out of the zone and happens to connect to a hail Mary? Unorthodox way to start a game but it works and they were away to the races. Don't be surprised if this is merely a mirage and Eakins should get those more experienced d men back in the line up sooner than later.

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#127 hall the time
December 06 2013, 09:12AM
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That was entertaining hockey

Nice feed to Hemmer flying up the left side by Smith. Rookie point lead. Peron's play. 4th Hattie for number 4. A good fight. PP goals, still don't like the PP though. Props to the oil.

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#128 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 06 2013, 10:21AM
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Good to see the Oilers beat a better team, but I think we should temper the optimism a bit. Some folks here are planning the parade, but it's gonna take a whole lot more than one win to make me believe they've turned any kind of corner.

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#129 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
December 06 2013, 10:58AM
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@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

Agreed.

I don't want to speak blasphemy, but the Oilers 28.6% shooting percentage from last night might not be something that happens every game...

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#130 Danger Pay
December 06 2013, 11:23AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Good to see the Oilers beat a better team, but I think we should temper the optimism a bit. Some folks here are planning the parade, but it's gonna take a whole lot more than one win to make me believe they've turned any kind of corner.

Can't we just enjoy a nice win and start up the Doom and Gloom after the next loss????

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#131 Todd
December 06 2013, 11:27AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Good to see the Oilers beat a better team, but I think we should temper the optimism a bit. Some folks here are planning the parade, but it's gonna take a whole lot more than one win to make me believe they've turned any kind of corner.

Would 7-3 in the last 10 games cause you to think they've turned the corner? Cause thats what the "last 10 games" line will show after we beat the Shames tomorrow. 7-3 is a good stretch for any team.

I fully get the scepticism. We've been burned SOOOO many times by this team. But I think people are being overly negative now. We had a terrible start. But since then its been about as per expected. A middling, not quite playoff team. Not great, but surely not as bad as the first 20 games.

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#132 Ales Hallsky
December 06 2013, 11:29AM
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Mo Playoffs Mo Problems wrote:

Agreed.

I don't want to speak blasphemy, but the Oilers 28.6% shooting percentage from last night might not be something that happens every game...

an 11% shooting percentage would have been enough...

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#133 DrunkGuyTy
December 06 2013, 11:32AM
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Yeah - but just wait and see what happens when we play the good western conference teams!!!!

Oh wait, Colorado is a western team in the playoffs??? ...and the Oilers beat them????

...that's unpossible!!!!!

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#134 Oiler Al
December 06 2013, 12:24PM
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If nothing else, it should instill much needed confidence for this youngish team... well done. Lets hope they can take care of the Flames on Saturday.!

Great game by Hall and others.. Smyth played his best game since comeing back from LA.Dubby should play like that more often.

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#135 Spydyr
December 06 2013, 01:58PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Taylor Hall signed my jersey and I legitimately cried. No hate please he is just my favorite player!

Justin Shultz is that you?

If it is stop crying grow some balls and stand up for your goalie.

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#136 Rip van Winkle
December 06 2013, 02:16PM
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@Spydyr

I had to laugh when J Shultz was skating away sheepishly and Acro came in guns a blazing to defend Dubnyk. There was no other oiler around. Eakins has to show that clip to the room to shame them into growing some balls or at least acting like they have a pair.

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#137 Oiler Al
December 06 2013, 07:36PM
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Rip van Winkle wrote:

I had to laugh when J Shultz was skating away sheepishly and Acro came in guns a blazing to defend Dubnyk. There was no other oiler around. Eakins has to show that clip to the room to shame them into growing some balls or at least acting like they have a pair.

I think if Justin Schultz took off his pantyhose he would play a tougher game.

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#138 oilerman53
December 06 2013, 11:57PM
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I love all the piss and vinegar Arco plays with every night. Jultz needs to put his purse down when his goalie gets crap from the opposing team.

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#139 Spydyr
December 07 2013, 11:07AM
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Rip van Winkle wrote:

I had to laugh when J Shultz was skating away sheepishly and Acro came in guns a blazing to defend Dubnyk. There was no other oiler around. Eakins has to show that clip to the room to shame them into growing some balls or at least acting like they have a pair.

At least pair J Shultz with someone that stands up for his goalie and teammates.Say a guy like Smid.Oh wait.

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