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, 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 Ari Gold
December 05 2013, 10:05PM
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Lander you clown! Give Hall the breakout pass to give him a chance for the hatty on that empty net.

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#2 6 ring circus
December 05 2013, 06:50PM
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Just curious, is anyone picking the Oiler's to win tonight? If you are, can you please call 1-800 you just lost your bet.

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#3 bazmagoo
December 05 2013, 09:42PM
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Can we trade Gagner please, Arcobello is already a better player.

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#4 @stevegregson02
December 05 2013, 07:03PM
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I think what were seeing (and I've speculated this before) is that Eakins has full control over roster. He has obviously failed to manage his roster effectively, run a good special teams or match lines while the game is being played.

His decision to sit both Petry and Belov is asinine. He's more less handing the game to the Avalanche. After this decision, especially based on how the Oilers for the majority of the game vs Phoenix - outplayed and out fancy statted them at even strength - is ridiculous.

This team has underperformed and lost for a variety of reasons. The Defense is bad, they have made costly mistakes, but sitting both of these guys (especially Petry) shows just how mad or ill informed Eakins is an NHL coach. This decision tonight along with the Smid deal shows that the crazy house runs this organization. No logic, no planning, no attention to the underlying numbers, no results.

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#5 Serious Gord
December 05 2013, 07:24PM
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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

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#6 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
December 05 2013, 08:31PM
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Lets see if I can jinx this...

3-0 lead, worst lead in hockey.

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#7 David S
December 05 2013, 06:24PM
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I'm afraid it looks like a guaranteed loss night boys. *Loads shotgun*

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#8 Johe
December 05 2013, 06:36PM
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Our defense cannot honestly be worse than it has been all year. We've given up 101 goals. Trying Marincin and Potter is worth a shot for a game or two. Why not?

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#9 Soccer Steve
December 05 2013, 09:13PM
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Schultz is a pussy. Through and through.

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#10 Chainsawz
December 05 2013, 10:09PM
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Haha, Gagner... Seventh goal in a 7-2 game, you're still a goat!

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#11 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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#12 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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#13 @stevegregson02
December 05 2013, 07:03PM
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I think what were seeing (and I've speculated this before) is that Eakins has full control over roster. He has obviously failed to manage his roster effectively, run a good special teams or match lines while the game is being played.

His decision to sit both Petry and Belov is asinine. He's more less handing the game to the Avalanche. After this decision, especially based on how the Oilers for the majority of the game vs Phoenix - outplayed and out fancy statted them at even strength - is ridiculous.

This team has underperformed and lost for a variety of reasons. The Defense is bad, they have made costly mistakes, but sitting both of these guys (especially Petry) shows just how mad or ill informed Eakins is an NHL coach. This decision tonight along with the Smid deal shows that the crazy house runs this organization. No logic, no planning, no attention to the underlying numbers, no results.

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#14 Chainsawz
December 05 2013, 07:33PM
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At least Gene brings it every night.

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#15 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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#16 Greg the Hammer Valentine
December 05 2013, 06:28PM
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Like Han Solo would say: "I have a bad feeling about this."

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#17 ValleyviewSports
December 05 2013, 07:33PM
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Hall-Gagner-Yakupov to start... I am leary. Could easily get preyed on, quickly.

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#18 Danger Pay
December 05 2013, 10:34PM
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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!!!

There's this really competitive league out there where any team, can beat any team, on any night. It's really good, you should check it out.

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#19 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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#20 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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#21 A-Mc
December 05 2013, 06:46PM
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#GOilers

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#22 dawgtoy
December 05 2013, 07:11PM
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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!

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#23 Turnover
December 05 2013, 07:19PM
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Petry out? Someone finally came to their senses. Without him giving the puck away all night, that'll be like Colorado playing a man short. So I think we got a good shot at a win.

They should have Yakapov and Gagner in the pressbox also.

I wonder if Dubnyk is going to play like there's nobody to take his job, or is he going to have a decent game?

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#24 steelymac
December 05 2013, 08:04PM
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Im thinkin shultz jr is a pussy.going to be a good player but no stones.

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#25 6 ring circus
December 05 2013, 10:16PM
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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!!!

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#26 Rheal1
December 05 2013, 07:40PM
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Did taylor hall really say this? "I don’t watch hockey these days, it makes me bitter seeing teams higher up in standings winning”. Can anyone prove/disprove?

This would be extremely telling about the psyche of NHL stars stuck in Edmonton, under Kevin Lowe.

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#27 bulldog12
December 05 2013, 07:44PM
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Oiler fans complain when Eakins doesn't sit some guys and complain when he does. So what is it. I think it's a good move. It sends a message to the guys sitting and to the ones not. Now they should be all worried about who's next. Bet the guys coming in have good games. And how could it possibly get worse. Oil get a W tonight.

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#28 Serious Gord
December 05 2013, 08:57PM
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Harlie wrote:

Triple feature it with Tropic Thunder.

or Hardcore Logo, if, you know, you're not into the whole brevity thing. This is a very complicated ....

Thanks for the recommendations - I haven't seen either. I will definitely check them out.

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#29 Ari Gold
December 05 2013, 09:56PM
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Arco: turnovers created, couple of hits, goal, assist, 3rd line

Gags: 2nd line, nothing to show with more ice time

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#30 madjam
December 05 2013, 10:15PM
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NAILED THE FINAL SCORE AND WINNER . ON A HOT STREAK NOW .

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#31 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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#32 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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#33 Jason
December 05 2013, 06:37PM
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Playing for the Oilers stunts your growth as a hockey player.

Not much more to say.

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#34 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 05 2013, 06:52PM
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Hang on tight boys, this is about to get third world ugly.

I say this with as much hope as I can muster, which is to say, almost none: go Oilers.

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#35 D-Unit
December 05 2013, 07:44PM
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@stevegregson02 wrote:

I think what were seeing (and I've speculated this before) is that Eakins has full control over roster. He has obviously failed to manage his roster effectively, run a good special teams or match lines while the game is being played.

His decision to sit both Petry and Belov is asinine. He's more less handing the game to the Avalanche. After this decision, especially based on how the Oilers for the majority of the game vs Phoenix - outplayed and out fancy statted them at even strength - is ridiculous.

This team has underperformed and lost for a variety of reasons. The Defense is bad, they have made costly mistakes, but sitting both of these guys (especially Petry) shows just how mad or ill informed Eakins is an NHL coach. This decision tonight along with the Smid deal shows that the crazy house runs this organization. No logic, no planning, no attention to the underlying numbers, no results.

Not like Eakins has much option on line matching. Gordon can't take every draw, and other than that he has a collection of centres who can't win draws, and small soft wingers who do little to win any battle. Then on D it is a collection of 5, 6, and 7s that are in over their heads the majority of the game, and sometimes even in warm up.

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#36 Derian Hatcher
December 05 2013, 07:47PM
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@Rheal1

There's only one other person in hockey that has won more cups than KLowe. So I think he knows a little bit about winning ....if there's ever a concern.

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#37 Alsker
December 05 2013, 08:23PM
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Money Moe wrote:

Once upon a time there was a undersized undrafted rookie leading all rookies in assists named Cory Conacher ..

His GM then traded him while he was hot for a legit number 1 goalie

I'm talking about Conacher , Bishop &&&....Arcobello !!!

Getter done ....a Dman will do ;)

How 'bout keeping that undrafted rookie and move a young,xperienced offensive centre + prospects/pick for that Dman.

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#38 Ari Gold
December 05 2013, 08:24PM
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Money Moe wrote:

Once upon a time there was a undersized undrafted rookie leading all rookies in assists named Cory Conacher ..

His GM then traded him while he was hot for a legit number 1 goalie

I'm talking about Conacher , Bishop &&&....Arcobello !!!

Getter done ....a Dman will do ;)

I don't think Arco is over-producing. I think this is 60% of what he's capable of at the NHL level. I'd keep him.

Gags is expendable.

Unless a Bishop quality player is available, Arco is an asset worth keeping.

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#39 Alsker
December 05 2013, 09:53PM
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So...does Eakins give Gags the "under the bus" treatment or does he find a reason to moan about Lander?

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#40 Alsker
December 05 2013, 10:05PM
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Wow, if Gags jaw prevents him from taking out his man than why the f#ck is he not on IR, if not, why is he in the line up?

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#41 Taylor Gang
December 05 2013, 10:31PM
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Taylor Hall signed my jersey and I legitimately cried. No hate please he is just my favorite player!

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

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#43 Craig1981
December 05 2013, 06:31PM
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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

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#44 Rusty Patenaude
December 05 2013, 07:16PM
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Wow! I don't know what alternate plain of reality Eakins exists on but Potter and Larsen in for Belov and Petry is just deranged.

Larsen is a train wreck in his own end and Potter makes me sick the way he loses every battle he ever engages in. I know Petry has been off the last several games, but Belov has been pretty solid, not perfect but imo the bet all-around defenceman the Oil have had this season.

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#45 D-Unit
December 05 2013, 07:35PM
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Rusty Patenaude wrote:

Wow! I don't know what alternate plain of reality Eakins exists on but Potter and Larsen in for Belov and Petry is just deranged.

Larsen is a train wreck in his own end and Potter makes me sick the way he loses every battle he ever engages in. I know Petry has been off the last several games, but Belov has been pretty solid, not perfect but imo the bet all-around defenceman the Oil have had this season.

What Oiler doesn't lose every battle, ever? Most of then have a hard time winning a puck battle with the boards on a dump in when the other team goes for a line change.

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#46 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 08:58PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Crappy call on hall. Can someone explain to the refs the oilers are perfectly capable of blowing this without their help.

Perron scores! Keep your dumb opinions to yourself !

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#47 Alsker
December 05 2013, 09:07PM
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Why was Gags on the 2nd PP...worked rather well with Arco.

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#48 Alsker
December 05 2013, 09:59PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

Arco: turnovers created, couple of hits, goal, assist, 3rd line

Gags: 2nd line, nothing to show with more ice time

Gags has been able to avoid enough contact not to get his uniform all snowy.

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#49 Ari Gold
December 05 2013, 10:14PM
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Seriously, this team has bipolar disorder. They blow em out or get blown out. I can't take this anymore....

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#50 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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