GDB -1: FINAL IMPRESSIONS

Jason Gregor
September 27 2013 12:58PM

The Oilers wrap up the preseason with a tilt against the Dallas/Texas Stars tonight in Oklahoma City. The Oilers currently have 27 players remaining in camp, 23 of them are healthy while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Corey Potter and Denis Grebeshkov will start the season on either the IR or LTIR.

It is the final opportunity to impress head coach Dallas Eakins, and tonight's lineup will be very close to what we see next Tuesday when the Oilers open their 34th NHL season against the Winnipeg Jets.

Unfortunately, the Oilers will once again face a lineup with half a roster of AHL-destined players. The Stars still have 20 forwards and 10 D-men in camp, and last night vs. the Avalanche the Stars dressed about 95% of their opening-night roster, so tonight the Oilers will faceoff against Luke Gazdic, Lane MacDermid, Travis Morin, Chris Mueller, Brett Ritchie, Colton Sceviour and others. The Stars will dress two forward lines of NHL players, but it likely won't be their best lines.

Usually the final preseason games involve more NHL-ready lineups, thus allowing the players to fine-tune their skills as well as giving the coaches a better sense of where their team is at. Eakins won't have that luxury this year.

Eakins mentioned he only worries about how his team plays and I respect that, but if your opponents aren't NHL caliber, is it possible to get an accurate gauge on your team's play? It is easier to defend the aforementioned Stars than it would be trying to shut down Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Ray Whitney, Erik Cole, Valerie Nichuskin and Shawn Horcoff.

The Oilers will see a few of those players tonight, but not all of them.

LINEUPS

Smyth-Hall-Hemsky
Perron-Gordon-Yakupov
Joensuu-Arcobello-Eberle
MacIntyre-Acton-Brown

Belov-J.Schultz
Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-Larsen

Dubnyk

Perron and Joensuu switched spots in practice yesterday and they'll stay that way tonight. That is interesting considering Perron and Eberle have played very well together. Jordan Eberle leads the NHL in preseason points with 8, while Perron leads the league with 5 preseason goals.

I suspect Eakins is just experimenting. Before leaving Edmonton he said he wanted three balanced scoring lines, and putting Eberle with two guys who played a combined eight NHL games last season seems to contradict that. I'm going to guess he's just looking at different combinations.

The Oilers know what they have in Andrew Ference so he'll get the night off.  Belov playing with Justin Schultz tells me he'll be on the opening night roster, likely in a pairing with Nick Schultz. .

PP UNITS...

The Oilers haven't spent much time practicing their powerplay, but yesterday they did.

The first unit consisted of Hall,Hemsky and Smyth up front with J.Schultz and Yakupov on the points. Yakupov on the right point was a focal point in the previous games, and I'm sure we'll see him unleash his one-timer frequently. Smyth replaces Horcoff in front of the net. I understand wanting to use Yakupov's one-timer, but they should also focus on getting Hall in a good shooting lane. He's got an excellent snap/wrist shot.

The 2nd unit will be Eberle, Arcobello and Joensuu as forwards with Perron and Belov on the point. Belov has a bomb of a shot, while most of the puck movement should go between Eberle and Perron.

When Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner return, the Oilers PP should get even better.

Texas Dallas lineup:

MacDermid-Eakin-Nichushkin
Garbutt-Fiddler-Ritchie
Roussel-Mueller-Sceviour
Gazdic-Morin-Smith

Connauton-Oleksiak
Dillon-Fortunus
Nemeth-Jokipakka

Ellis
Nilstorp

QUICK HITS

  • The Stars new green jerseys look fantastic. I rarely like a new jersey more than the old one, but these ones look great, especially on TV.
     
  • Nichuskin has looked great in the preseason, and he'll start the season in Dallas. If he has a good season, I'm sure some will rip the Oilers for taking Darnell Nurse instead of him. Like most draft years, I think you have to wait at least five years to gauge players, and sometimes even longer, especially when comparing a D-man to a forward. It will be a good debate.
     
  • Remind you to watch my fellow Nation writer, Jason Strudwick, this Sunday evening on Battle of the Blades. Struds informed me that his first outfit is, umm, outside his comfort zone. Can't wait, it will be fun. Break a blade Struds.
     
  • Please do me a favour and sign up for Streakcred. I'm getting sick of Wanye texting me every ten minutes reminding me to add a link in my story. The early bird special is on right now for only $15 a team, and it's addicting. The best part is that in addition to winning some cool prizes, you will also be helping out The Inner City Children's Program. Show the world how smart you are, and help kids eat a healthy meat. It's a win-win. You should sign up here.  

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR  

 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Fresh Mess
September 27 2013, 07:20PM
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The Oil are terrible. 8 years and counting....

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#52 YFC Prez
September 27 2013, 07:21PM
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@Fresh Mess

whats the other stream? I got the same flickr on big oilers web site screen

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#53 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 07:21PM
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Boo birds in OKC 2-0 Dallas .Hall turnover at Dallas blue line leading to a 2-1 the other way.That is why Hall will have a hard time making the Olympic team.

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#54 Fresh Mess
September 27 2013, 07:23PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

whats the other stream? I got the same flickr on big oilers web site screen

http://firstrownow.eu/watch/210546/1/watch-edmonton-oilers-vs-dallas-stars.html

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#55 YFC Prez
September 27 2013, 07:31PM
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@Fresh Mess

thanks

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#56 Fresh Mess
September 27 2013, 07:31PM
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Oilers NHL roster looks ECHL quality. I bet Eakins is making the air blue in the dressing room.

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#57 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 07:35PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Oilers NHL roster looks ECHL quality. I bet Eakins is making the air blue in the dressing room.

As he should.It looks like there was some kind of "team activity" last night.

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#58 @Oilanderp
September 27 2013, 07:42PM
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If I was Eakins, I wouldn't even go into the dressing room. If I was ME, I'd go in there and scream my face off until I lost my voice lol.

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#59 Mikey
September 27 2013, 07:45PM
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Meh. Just like every other game so far, it's pre season.

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#60 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 07:46PM
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Mikey wrote:

Meh. Just like every other game so far, it's pre season.

Looks a lot like the last seven seasons.

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#61 StHenriOilBomb
September 27 2013, 07:48PM
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Petry has looked as bad as any d-man so far. THANKS WAYNE!

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#62 YFC Prez
September 27 2013, 07:49PM
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Thank god 3rd period...hopefully they stop playing like the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked!

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#63 Johe
September 27 2013, 07:49PM
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I knew the Oilers would lose tonight. One team full of future hopefuls or guys fighting for jobs versus a team that just wants the season to start. It's almost exactly like Edmonton beating the snot out of Vancouver at the end of the season last year. One team wants to prove something, one team is just waiting for the games that mean something to get under way.

Mind you, playoff games don't really mean anything for Vancouver, do they? Ba dum bum chh!

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#64 Jeff
September 27 2013, 07:53PM
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Nice effort Dubie. What the heck are Oilers management thinking running with this turd of a keeper?

Lots of empty seats. Katz' new arena may have the same look. Maybe they should cover the new seats with pictures of en-raptured fans so the 3 paying customers who do show up don't feel lonely.

Just saying...

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#65 Team Omark
September 27 2013, 08:00PM
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What kind of fools bring a huge canada flag and wave it around at an NHL pre-season game in OKC? These people are an embarrassment.

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#66 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 08:04PM
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Team Omark wrote:

What kind of fools bring a huge canada flag and wave it around at an NHL pre-season game in OKC? These people are an embarrassment.

Probably a Canadian.The Canadian flag at a hockey game will never be an embarrassment to me anywhere, anytime.

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#67 YFC Prez
September 27 2013, 08:05PM
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Team Omark wrote:

What kind of fools bring a huge canada flag and wave it around at an NHL pre-season game in OKC? These people are an embarrassment.

*Tucks flag under jacket, flails arms, and runs weeping hysterically to the mens room*

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#68 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 08:07PM
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More boo birds 3-0 Dallas.Seems the OKC fans don't like the Oilers effort either.

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#69 Fresh Mess
September 27 2013, 08:07PM
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HAHAHA. Getting owned by an AHL team. Brutal.

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#70 Team Omark
September 27 2013, 08:10PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Probably a Canadian.The Canadian flag at a hockey game will never be an embarrassment to me anywhere, anytime.

I repeat.. NHL PRE SEASON GAME. Nationalism has no place in pro sports. Especially obnoxious nationalist clowns who run around after cheerleaders trying to get on camera.

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#71 dman
September 27 2013, 08:10PM
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@Spydyr

An Oilers flag I can understand but why a Canadian flag? It's not the Olympics. It is as out of place as an American flag at Rexall

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#72 StHenriOilBomb
September 27 2013, 08:13PM
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8 minutes of empty net? woah. that worked well...

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#73 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 08:14PM
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dman wrote:

An Oilers flag I can understand but why a Canadian flag? It's not the Olympics. It is as out of place as an American flag at Rexall

Because Canada rules.

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#74 Quicksilver ballet
September 27 2013, 08:25PM
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Not a big deal, nothing game. Once all the alsorans are gone, give these guys 3 or 4 weeks and they'll be a better hockey club than they are now.

It's unfortunate the traditional training camp circus had them wasting the last 3 1/2 weeks. Now they'll have to use the next 15-30 games that count to try and grow together as a 25 man group.

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#75 Fresh Mess
September 27 2013, 08:26PM
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Nice zinger by Stauffer towards the Oil for waiving Whitney....

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#76 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 08:27PM
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Oilers have 4 third period shots.Brutal effort.Hope Eakins bag skates them tomorrow.

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#77 Johe
September 27 2013, 08:30PM
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Thank goodness the preseason is over. Too long. Now let the real games begin!!!

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#78 Poolanov
September 27 2013, 08:37PM
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Surprised Eakins didn't factor in the "harem of hotties" waiting for the boys to return to OKC. No wonder they're spent. "Hey lets practice there all week". Bad Idea...

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#79 biscotti
September 27 2013, 08:38PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Nice zinger by Stauffer towards the Oil for waiving Whitney....

Ray whitney... not ryan whitney. Good try

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#80 @Oilanderp
September 27 2013, 08:42PM
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And now the post-game show:

"Oilers still suck. Thanks and good night!"

[fin]

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#81 madjam
September 27 2013, 08:55PM
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After tonites performance have to be scared how regular season might go ? Not sure Perron and Ference can make enough difference to make us look respectable . I blame it on Tams and Kreuger for leaving team .

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#82 konst16
September 27 2013, 08:58PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Not a big deal, nothing game. Once all the alsorans are gone, give these guys 3 or 4 weeks and they'll be a better hockey club than they are now.

It's unfortunate the traditional training camp circus had them wasting the last 3 1/2 weeks. Now they'll have to use the next 15-30 games that count to try and grow together as a 25 man group.

NHL teams play more than one season, and thus they want to develop and measure those not yet on the team.

It would be shortsighted for a team to focus 100% of their coaching/training staff to only those virtually assured games in NHL in the current season . Ensuring you have players you know, and can perform when brought into the lineup is key to having a successful organization.

I really can't see how having an extra ~15 days with few games (no way nhlpa agrees to having to play 8-10 preseason games with 25 man rosters), will end up affecting the standings in any predicable way. Especially not enough to shaft the guys in the system, and blow a huge hole in your ability to recruit.

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#83 TeddyTurnbuckle
September 27 2013, 09:05PM
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See that Ryan Whitney was released, no surprise there. He will never play another NHL game again mostly because he can't skate and he took unnecessary shots at the oilers staff and players on his way out of town. Guess what Whitney? You suck! How many times did this guy fall on his butt by himself last season. Maybe don't worry about blaming other guys on the team and take care of your own game. In other news the Oilers looked terrible tonight. What happened to big Mac? It's not looking good for opening night.

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#84 michael
September 27 2013, 09:08PM
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Glad I am not watching or listening to this game. The end is nigh. Thank goodness. Pre season is wayyyy to long.

Ryan Whitney is still a bum.

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#85 Mikey
September 27 2013, 09:09PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Looks a lot like the last seven seasons.

I notice you don't come around while the oilers are winning. Seems strange, no?

Who cares what team had what roster, the oilers went 5-2-1 in the PRE season. So the oilers dominated other teams ahl roster and now they lost to a ahl roster.

Like I said, meh.

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#86 CDean
September 27 2013, 09:09PM
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The best play was 'Oilers forward Steve MacIntyre left the game with an apparent knee injury and did not return.'

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#87 David S
September 27 2013, 09:19PM
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Spydyr wrote:

As he should.It looks like there was some kind of "team activity" last night.

If you follow the Oilers Twitter feed, you'd know what happened. They dragged the players all over OKC today doing public relations appearances to pump the Barons. Probably obliterated their game day routines.

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#88 @Oilanderp
September 27 2013, 09:23PM
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http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/09/27/yes-the-preseason-matters/

To summarize the math heavy article, the Oilers got 68.75% of the possible preseason points.

Historically teams that did this well (got over 65% of the pre-season points) in pre-season were in the playoffs or within a point of them about 74% of the time.

Take it for what it is.

I am going to buy streamers!

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#89 Naky
September 27 2013, 09:25PM
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Oh my, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.

Yes, the Oilers should have given it all they got against a team of nobodies and nothings in a meaningless game.

Oh, yes, and it's all Dubey's fault we lost this game for sure. Nevermind the bagel, donut, zip, nada, nothing, zero, hula hoop on the scoreboard. Or the shot clock. Nope. It's on the Dubster to score the goals too. If we had traded Omark for Carey Price this past summer, this would never have happened, you see.

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#90 YFC Prez
September 27 2013, 09:26PM
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@CDean

The best play was a oiler player getting injured!?

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#91 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 09:36PM
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David S wrote:

If you follow the Oilers Twitter feed, you'd know what happened. They dragged the players all over OKC today doing public relations appearances to pump the Barons. Probably obliterated their game day routines.

Twitter is not my thing but thanks for the heads up.

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#92 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 09:37PM
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Mikey wrote:

I notice you don't come around while the oilers are winning. Seems strange, no?

Who cares what team had what roster, the oilers went 5-2-1 in the PRE season. So the oilers dominated other teams ahl roster and now they lost to a ahl roster.

Like I said, meh.

I'm here most everyday but thanks for noticing.

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#93 Mikey
September 27 2013, 09:42PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I'm here most everyday but thanks for noticing.

You're right, most days. And since the oilers have sucked the past many years, you've been around a lot. Here's to hopping the oilers win more than lose, even if it only meant you would stop showing up here.

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#94 Andy
September 27 2013, 10:10PM
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I can't see how even the most blinded, myopic Kool-Aid sucking fan can a see anything even remotely positive about the display in OKC tonight.

When does McDavid enter the draft? Does Tambellini have a Craig MacTavish mask? I wonder.

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#95 Rob...
September 27 2013, 10:14PM
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There are times I pity trolls. Their lives must be so empty to think that what they do is a rewarding pastime.

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#96 Quicksilver ballet
September 27 2013, 10:54PM
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@konst16

The NHLPA wouldn't care, players don't start paying dues till they start getting paid/playing reg season games. You can still develop plenty of players without them getting in the way of the guys who have a place on the parent club.

10 day rookie camp.. Let those kids play the other NHL rookie squads, the Golden Bears, the Nait Ooks, the Oil Kings...who cares.

Starting with a much smaller group would quicken this process sharply. 42 players go to main camp (4 goalies and 38 skaters). After week one of main camp 12 guys get reassigned/gonzo (JRS or AHL/ECHL) This leaves 30 bodies remaining. Plenty of opportunity to work with the players that matter the most. Shorten the pre-season to 6 games and put some value back into those games for the few fans who show up. The NHL has established you need to dress 8 veterans for every exhibition game. The is no rule to prevent you from icing 75+% of your opening day roster. Two weeks (ahead of your competition) to work on your new system with the group that matters most.

Best 4 or 5 rookies (plenty of opportunity since zero kids had a legitimate shot at making the parent club this year) from rookie camp go onto the main camp. This still leaves room for 10-12 AHL/ECHL so called blue chip prospects. Your 25'ish veterans with contracts make up the rest of that group of 42 for main camp. Show well at the AHL/JR level and you'll get that invite to camp the following fall.

The 70+ player gong show the Oilers went through this last month is no longer productive. Time to do away with all the promises of giving all these kids an exhibition game or two, they're not in danger of making the club anyways. The Oilers would have benefitted greatly by having the 29'ish remaining players they have today, 2 1/2 weeks ago. The Oilers need new ways to find a competitive advantage. Points won in October still count in April. Steal those October points until the rest of the league follows the Oilers lead. Start your own path and make your own luck.

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#97 oildawg99
September 27 2013, 11:15PM
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So the Oilers win a bunch of pre-season games and some "fans" howl how its only pre-season and no one should give it much attention.

But then they put in a stinker in the pre-season and the sky is falling? get a grip. Let see how these guys perform when the actual season starts before passing judgement. And even then its going to take a few weeks to get a real gauge on how good this team actually is.

I am curious of all the oilers hate I have been seeing on TSN and other sights, has anyone else noticed this and is it more than normal? if it is that sure is a good sign. hahaha

Go OIL!

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#98 Manfly
September 27 2013, 11:20PM
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oildawg99 wrote:

So the Oilers win a bunch of pre-season games and some "fans" howl how its only pre-season and no one should give it much attention.

But then they put in a stinker in the pre-season and the sky is falling? get a grip. Let see how these guys perform when the actual season starts before passing judgement. And even then its going to take a few weeks to get a real gauge on how good this team actually is.

I am curious of all the oilers hate I have been seeing on TSN and other sights, has anyone else noticed this and is it more than normal? if it is that sure is a good sign. hahaha

Go OIL!

TSN is troll central ! complete garbage post it site, I wouldn't waste my time over there!

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#99 Andropod
September 27 2013, 11:22PM
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The oil stank the place up tonight. Disgraceful lack of effort for a team supposed to always give it 100%. They let themselves down, they let the Oklahoma fans down. Preseason or not, they made the Coach look the foo tonight.

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#100 Taylor Gang
September 28 2013, 12:28AM
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Oh no the sky is falling!

Everyone needs to calm the f___ down. So they lost, big deal. Eakins will have something to say about their effort level but hey, they clearly are just waiting for the season to start. The Oilers aren't invincible yet; they'll lose a couple this year. No need to panic already...

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