GDB 50.0: DO THE MOVES MATTER?

Jason Gregor
January 16 2014 12:25PM

Instead of firing another head coach, Craig MacTavish has decided to move out some players who have been here for most of the losing. Ladislav Smid was traded earlier this year, and yesterday Devan Dubnyk was sent to Nashville for Matt Hendricks. MacTavish quickly replaced Dubnyk by acquiring netminder Ben Scrivens from Los Angeles. 

Will these moves make the Oilers better? 

I don't see Hendricks making a major impact, but I also don't expect 4th liners to be difference makers. His salary is too high for a 4th liner, but if he plays well, helps out on the PK and adds some energy then he could break even. The Oilers aren't in a massive cap crunch and I don't see anyone on the roster in line for a significant raise over the next two seasons, so I don't see his $1.85 million cap hit hampering them financially. You can critique Hendricks the player, and have reservations about his play, but his cap hit is not going to hinder the Oilers.

Scrivens has an opportunity of a lifetime. He's coming to a team that is desperate for adequate goaltending. He doesn't need to be great, he just needs to be better than Ilya Bryzgalov's .904 SV%, and if he can avoid allowing weak goals he'll be considered an improvement.

Let's make one thing abundantly clear, however, Dubnyk was not the main reason the Oilers are in 29th place.

He was brutal at the start of the season, but since November he has been no worse than the majority of the roster. I've heard and read suggestions that that his slow start ruined the Oilers season.

I'd say that is just a tad misleading.

No doubt he was brutal early on, especially against the Jets, Canadiens and Leafs. Had he played decent they win those games. However, when you look closer you realize that the Oilers winning % didn't go up when Dubnyk was out of the lineup, it went down.

In the 29 games Dubnyk started the Oilers won 11 of them.
The 20 games he didn't start they won 4.

The Oilers won 38% of the games he started, but only 20% of the games he didn't. In case you are wondering in his 11 wins he only allowed 20 goals, so you can't say the offence carried him. 

I'm not giving Dubnyk a free pass. He didn't play well this year. He has to own that, but they Oilers need to realize that when he didn't play they won 4 of 20 games. FOUR. I'd say they have many other issues besides Dubnyk.

The goaltending needs to be better, but after speaking to a few scouts and goalie coaches I'm not sold that Scrivens is an automatic upgrade.

Dubnyk played much better last season; however, he hasn't been able to shed the "weak goal" label. Those goals were magnified on a losing team, and if he wants to be a starter somewhere else he'll need to limit the softies. Scrivens is a good backup, but he's yet to show he can be a starter. He'll get every opportunity to prove he can be over the next few months.

Dubnyk didn't look comfortable this year and to me it became clear the organization had lost faith in him, and I sense that Dubnyk's confidence was waning. Sometimes you just have to realize that both sides are better off without one another, and I think that was the case.

I won't be surprised if Dubnyk puts up decent numbers elsewhere, but I will be shocked if he re-signs in Nashville. With Pekka Rinne signed for another five seasons, I doubt Dubnyk wants to settle for a guaranteed backup role. I suspect he will sign with a team that doesn't have a clear cut starter.

HENDRICKS...

He is a 4th liner who kills penalties, but he hasn't produced much offence since he tallied 25 points in 2011. He is competitive and will battle, but some won't be able to get past his $1.85 million salary for the next three seasons. If you expect him to produce a lot of points due to his salary, then you'll be disappointed. He won't bring much offence.

He's never been a regular centre, but he has won 53% of the 700+ faceoffs he's taken. I'd have him centre the 4th line the rest of the season. Smyth is better on the wall than he is down the middle.

At best he's a 4th liner who kills penalties and will add some energy and break even offensively. The latter will be his biggest challenge, and MacTavish has opened himself up for criticism if Hendricks can't be break even. 

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Gagner
Yakupov-Arcobello-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hendricks/Jones
Jones/Hendricks-Smyth-Gazdic

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Belov-N.Schultz

Scrivens

Starting Scrivens was the obvious decision. He'll want to make an impression right away and Bryzgalov wasn't very good in Dallas. The Oilers are 2-16-3 in their last 21 visits to Minnesota, so any new face in the lineup could be a welcomed addition.

Hemsky is back in Edmonton getting his swollen ankle looked at. If it is just bruised, I'd sit him out until it was 100%, not 80 or 90, but 100% before I'd put him back on the ice. The Oilers need him healthy and at his best to maximize his trade value. He won't re-sign to be a 3rd line RW next year, so they need to get something for him at the deadline.

Hendricks should play 4th line centre, mainly because Smyth is better on the wall, but Eakins suggested you might see him on the wing, possibly with Gordon. The Oilers like his energy, which is great, but he'll need to generate some offence if you play him on the third line.

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven't had a lot of luck in the Twin Cities (inner Gene comes out) recently, but the new faces will give them a boost and they will skate away with a rare win in Minnesota. They get a break not having to face Niklas Backstrom -- he is 25-4-1 all-time vs. Edmonton, although the way he's playing maybe they would prefer to face him -- and they score three on Darcy Kuemper to win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: You can change the coach and the players, but the Wild are still a boring hockey team. They are 26th in scoring, but have the 10th best GAA. This game is a reminder of how awful it was to have to watch the Wild six times a year. Thankfully we are only subjected to it three times a year now.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Most stats suggest Hendricks won't produce much offence, but he picks up a 2nd period assist and Oilersnation rejoices. Also, in a rare change of fortunes an Oiler scores against his former team when Nick Schultz scores his first of the season. Kyle Brodziak watches in disbelief. He was certain he would score tonight.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

 

 

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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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#151 Spaz
January 16 2014, 07:23PM
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Can we PLEASE go back to having two guys on the point during PPs?

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#152 2004Z06
January 16 2014, 07:49PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

The team got WORSE under Mact's first year and you " seriously don't see how people can think he's been ineffectual" HIS TEAM IS WORSE!!! thats how people think he is ineffectual

your a Troll or on the Oiler payroll. Perron been good

Gordon ok

Joensuu has brought nothing

Ference has made no difference at all

Bryz is what he was in Philly. Overrated

you forgot grebeshkov. remember how Mact knew this guy was ready for a good year after being away from the NHL

Belov "personally scouted by macT" is average at best

take your PR efforts to the Oilers site where it belongs

The team got worse under Mac T's first year? He's only had the job for 7 months. Everybody is getting really tired of your constant whining.

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#153 The Real Scuba Steve
January 16 2014, 08:07PM
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Unbelievable..

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#154 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 08:45PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

Willis and Staples will show us how the oilers are actually improving with the advanced stats.

They only got outshot by 12!! That's progress right Willis??

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#155 He Who Knows
January 16 2014, 10:15PM
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A team stuck in purgatory and yet has a full house every home game is more rattling than the futility of the management. The prognosis is not good with the team's current crop of executives and invisible owner. Another lottery pick is outright embarrassing. As a rabid and loyal fan base, we do not deserve this.

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#156 Jackson
January 16 2014, 10:17PM
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Islanders of the North wrote:

Really? This is what NHL hockey has become in Edmonton, pathetic, you do not deserve n NHL team.

As an Oiler fan I have to agree with you. Oilers Organization is an embarrassment. City of losers

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#157 john
January 17 2014, 12:36AM
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Oilers lost again tonight to a bunch of no names and back up goalie in Minnesota? Scored 1 goal for, goals against is worst in NHL. I can see the players are not having fun out there playing for Eakins. Mac T doesn't want to admit that he made a mistake hiring this coach but it shows right now in the standings. They can't score goals and they allowed too many against which means losing games not winning them.

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#158 Carlos Danger
January 16 2014, 12:47PM
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I was going to say something i thought was clever but probably wasn't insightful or funny. All I can think now is DAYUM! DAYUM! DAYUM!Thank You Jason.

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#159 S cottV
January 16 2014, 02:23PM
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Smart getting Scrivens in vs the Wild on the road.

Wild are unlikely to completely light him up.

That being said, the Oilers are unlikely to win this game. Low scoring loss - the obvious more likely scenario.

I like the Hendricks part in 4C. If he is considered to be very good in his own zone, helping d men shut down low threats - this, along with the other attributes being described would make it a definate upgrade.

I believe Scrivens thru the balance of the season, will be no better than Dubies numbers and not as good as Brys. The lack of appropriate Oiler goalie support being one of the major factors.

Sorry to lose Dubnyk - at least as a back up, although for some of the right reasons and some of the wrong reasons, it was probably time.

Hope he rebounds, finds his form and makes a case for a contract next year.

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#160 Valter Slobchuk
January 16 2014, 02:59PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Best of luck to the new Oilers........you're going to need It.

Eakins sucks!

YOU SUCK YOU DUMB RETREAD!!!!!!!

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#161 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
January 16 2014, 03:40PM
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At the beginning of the year, I used to read GDBs. Now I just come for the top props comments.

Cheers.

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#162 westcoastoil
January 16 2014, 04:05PM
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DD out Scrivens in, sure. Hendricks, well OK.

Canucks get aired out 9-1 AND JG posts a pic of my new 2 favourite girls...it is indeed a sunny day!

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#163 Johnnydapunk
January 16 2014, 05:15PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

I dont think the players coming in are too worried that the fans are in a bad mood. They know the standings. The Oil have been crap for the better part of a Decade. players know and thats why they dont want to be here.

Dont listen to the laForge school of spin and blame the fans. This disaster is 100% on oiler management.

They need to be gone so they can stop making dumb trades and signings.

I have no idea about hendricks but who cares because he is a 4th liner not a difference maker.

Scrivens...Dude i am so sorry you had to come home to this garbage. Good luck but even Georges Vezina himself would have bad numbers behind this defense

This is it, I'm asking what it would take Hendricks and Scrivens to do so people can say, "yeah that was a great trade and I'm glad we got these guys!"

What kindof numbers do these players have to put up for people to be satisfied ?

As everything about this season is a write off, all I am hoping for is that the new players settle in alright and the end of the season they say that this was a great move for them, and maybe attract other free agent players to come here and try to bring the glory back that has been long gone.

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#164 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 07:16PM
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Puck JammeR! wrote:

my tummy kinda hurts but I didn't eat anything weird today. any suggestions?

Watch the Oilers play tonight....it will make you puke....then your tummy will feel better.

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#165 FireKLowe
January 16 2014, 08:09PM
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Romanus wrote:

Want to buy my tickets so you can do it yourself?

I would but I live in cowtown.

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#166 cubsfan
January 16 2014, 08:43PM
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God wrote:

First game I tried to watch in a month. What a serious waste of time.

House of Cards has much more conviction.

Eagerly awaiting next season of House of Cards....cant say that about this 'house of cards'.....

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#167 BobbyCanuck
January 17 2014, 09:21AM
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6 ring circus wrote:

Eakins rolled into Edmonton like he was a Jack Adams winner,the day he painted Chop wood ,Carry Water in the Oilers dressing, I'm pretty sure most of the players were like WTF ,this guy is a tool!!!

Known as an ass, that does not surprise me, considering the type of comments he makes. esp. the one calling the fan that threw the jersey on the ice after the loss to the Blues, (wish I had not left the game after the second period)gutless or something like that. The big thing Eakins does not realize is now his poorly thought out comments get plastered all over N. America, when he was in the minors they only got splashed around too, I am thinking the village newspaper, and the equivelant of our Channel 10.

You in the SHOW now Mr. Eakins, please comport yourself accordingly

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#168 GriffCity
January 16 2014, 01:08PM
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1983 and This Year wrote:

Scene opens in Katz mansion. Lowe is in a leather chair, stroking a cat, flanked by Katz and MacT. Hendricks is led into the room, held by 2 guards.

Lowe: Matt, remember what I told you last summer? That's right, you hadn't seen the last of me. Someday, you would be mine. And now you know -- one way or another, I always get what I want.

Katz points towards Rexall

Katz: Now get in the pit with the others!

MacT throws his head back and laughs maniacally

End scene

Soo Funny LOL

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#169 A-Mc
January 16 2014, 02:10PM
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So when do we start the #Professor photoshop contest?

Bryz Lightyear, the russian space cowboy needs his Professor!

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#170 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 02:22PM
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Truth wrote:

Twins?!?!

Don't mind having a player like Hendricks on the team. He is overpaid for his skill set. You say that doesn't matter, I disagree.

I think if they let Dubnyk walk they could have signed a replacement for Hendricks for about $800,000 easy. Here's a list of similar type players becoming UFA's this off-season currently getting paid in that range: Carcillo, Thorburn, Bernier, Barch, Regin, Bissonnette, Brown, Westgarth.

In doing that the Oilers would have spared themselves over $1,000,000 they could have thrown at any one of the following UFA's IN ADDITION to what they would have originally offered them: Ryan Miller, Andrei Markov, David Legwand, Jonas Hiller, Ryan Callahan, Derek Roy, Matt Stajan, Jaroslav Halak, Dave Bolland, Radim Vrbata, Steve Ott, etc.

I would much rather overpay any one of those players than to overpay a 32 yr old 4th liner. Of course many of those players will be signed by their current team, but some will make it to market.

Bissonnette isnt cut out to play a majority of an NHL season, we have that in a better player with Gazdik. Brown, we already traded him due to his inconsistnacy. Andrei Markov is 35 and a bandaid like hemsky. Good luck in attracting Bolland.

so you would rather overpay a 35yr old russian band aid, than consistent grit for our 4th line finally?

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#171 Joel
January 16 2014, 02:32PM
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Hendricks won't be in the NHL within 2 years. So if you like wasting money he is your man.

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#173 Archaeologuy
January 16 2014, 03:47PM
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zomg that picture...must...get back...to...work

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#174 Mclick
January 16 2014, 04:32PM
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The team make up hasn't worked for the last 4 years. Players need to be moved out, which in some cases is unfortunate. 2 years away from competing for a playoff spot....at least that is what I have been saying for the last few years.

Get rid of them all slowly, keep your top picks and get something for Gagner or Eberle if a really good offer comes up.

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#175 Spellchecker
January 16 2014, 06:55PM
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@RexHoles yah, it gets WORST lol

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#176 Nowuknow
January 16 2014, 08:50PM
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So much is so for game day prediction!!!! Instead bold move will be Coilers to apply to Garry , to use two Golies at once on a game or relegation to the AHL. This will solve everything may be, may be!!!

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#177 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:52PM
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Alsker wrote:

Since no QSB again, allow me to remind everyone this was another step closer to Ekblad or whomever we choose with the #1 this year. Even with fLames getting their asses kicked tonite we still are able to maintain our lead for epic fail of the year.

That's how bad the Flames suck.....they don't even know how to loose good!

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#178 Rod
January 16 2014, 11:03PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

That is a nonsensical statement. Either you have proof or you don't.

Let's say I heard Gillis say this. Now you will say no you didn't.

Like I said hard to prove

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#179 camdog
January 17 2014, 06:11AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Very interesting point. One should search the transcripts to see if Lowe or MacT have used the "too soon to judge/fire Eakins" justification/Defence.

One thing I wonder is: did kreuger rub MacT or Klowe the wrong way? Was his end of season report damning of oiler management - perhaps recommending the firing of some of the assistants? Was he being too independent-minded? Was he a threat to the power structure or rebellious within it?

In the off season report from Krueger he requested an experienced assistant coach to help him behind the bench. When looking for this assistant coach Mact ran into Eakins. Eakins told Mact he wasn't coming to the NHL to be an assistant. So Mact fired Krueger and hired Eakins.

The question are why wasn't Krueger involved in the process to hire a new coach? How can a GM get fleeced by a coach? How stubborn is Mactavish? When will admit the mistake and fire Eakins. It sure is easy to fix others mistakes but it's dam hard to admit you were wrong.

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#180 Dog Train
January 16 2014, 01:29PM
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Here's hoping for a Bryzgalov-esque Oilers debut for Scrivens. I'm pulling for the guy.

I think we need to get Perron going again. I get that he is a solid two-way player and fits in well with other checkers but if he plays on a line with Gordon and Hendricks, we are wasting his talent. Maybe put Smyth on their wing as a pure defensive line, move Arco to fourth line centre and Gagner back to the middle.

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#181 Mac962
January 16 2014, 02:20PM
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Spydyr wrote:

All a 6pm start time means is I can start drinking at 6:10 to drown my sorrows. Just kidding, I'm off tomorrow I be drinking by 3pm.

LOL- Chipped ice till my arms are numb - First beer is underway.

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#182 BRHLBryce
January 16 2014, 02:49PM
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@Truth

I never said he was the cure all. I'm just saying for as bad a season as Dubnyk is having, and his value, to get a useful piece is alright.

Do I like the contract? Its a bit high. Do I like the term, of course not. Still when we have to overpay depth guys to come here anyways now either in term or dollars (Gordon, Belanger etc), picking one up via trade, who has multiple tools, isn't the worst thing in the world.

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#183 Puck JammeR!
January 16 2014, 03:25PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Ekblad was fine at WJC for me. He was 17 playing in the top pair. How many other 17 years old have done that over the years?

I have no concern with his hockey sense. I don't agree with that.

I haven't watched them all enough to make an accurate pick at this point. I have started watching more of their games and will have a write up later in the year.

Historically the best forwards in the draft are taken early, while the best D-man is rarely the best in his class.

Of course guys like Pronger, Doughty, Niedermayer and a few other special D-men buck that trend... Ekblad is a heck of a player as are the rest. I will watch more and then decide who I'd take first...

my tummy kinda hurts but I didn't eat anything weird today. any suggestions?

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#184 mayorblaine
January 16 2014, 04:14PM
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really! has come to reading stupidity about the fans are reason for the Oiler woes. there will always be a "darwin award" worthy segment of the population who will say and do bad things, but the fans here in Edmonton should be applauded for their unwavering love for a team that doesn't love them back. most certainly doesn't have any idea how to show it.

these comments maybe some of the stupidest i've ever read here and i'm not overly discerning.

the OILERS ORAGNIZATION is the reason for the woes. the plight is their own, the sword they need to fall on.

winners want to win and unless drafted here, they aren't coming to lose.

bad fans you say, GREAT FANS I SAY!

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#185 outdoorzguy
January 16 2014, 04:39PM
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I hope Scrivens plays well, but not well enough for a win. I'm still hoping the next loss for the coaching staff will be their last loss as Oiler coaches!!

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#186 Curt Brackenberry
January 16 2014, 04:44PM
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The salary cap era has ruined blockbuster trades of the past. So much for excitement on trade deadline.

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#187 tileguy
January 16 2014, 04:45PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

I hope Scrivens plays well, but not well enough for a win. I'm still hoping the next loss for the coaching staff will be their last loss as Oiler coaches!!

It's weird how you kinda want to see oil loose 7-0, just like slowing down to gawk at a bad car accident, but inside you get excited if they blow out the other guys

GDP... Oil 6, wild 0, Hendricks with 2 points and a fight, Gadzic with a goal and a fight.

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#188 Jerod
January 16 2014, 04:48PM
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Personally I have no faith in Oiler management given their track record. A clock is right twice a day. Oilers not so much

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#189 pelhem grenville
January 16 2014, 05:43PM
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Yowza wrote:

Gregor, who are those beautiful ladies???

...all Gregor did was type 'sexy twins' into his search engine and click ->

after he did whatever he did he must have decided on these two . . .

it's really clever the way he put that Minnesota game day thing juxtaposed with this gratuitous shameful display of the female form to it's best use... don't you think?

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#190 Jason!
January 16 2014, 06:30PM
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1manwolfpack wrote:

sweet jeebus.who are those ladies?!Great article, by the way...

If you do not know, they are Gerger's twin sisters. You could find them on your dreams, just close your eyes and make a wish.... good luck....

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#191 Mike Krushelnyski
January 16 2014, 08:08PM
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Hitler did less harm than Lowe

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#192 Alsker
January 16 2014, 08:47PM
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Since no QSB again, allow me to remind everyone this was another step closer to Ekblad or whomever we choose with the #1 this year. Even with fLames getting their asses kicked tonite we still are able to maintain our lead for epic fail of the year.

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#193 Islanders of the North
January 16 2014, 09:55PM
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Scrivens is noting more tan a scrub brush! Eakins is a dork

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#194 Mike Krushelnyski
January 16 2014, 10:54PM
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I Smell Negro

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#195 Serious Gord
January 16 2014, 11:02PM
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Jay wrote:

I'm actually thinking for the first time that Eakins maybe fired. It really looks like the Oilers are not playing for him.

From your keyboard to Katz' eyes...

And yet I think that doesn't solve the much more deeply embedded problem: The incompetence of Kevin Lowe and the relationship between him and the owner that keeps him in place and unaccountable for the myriad transgressions he has committed against this team and thus against the fans.

Let's see what happens if the jets with their new coach waxes the oil on Saturday afternoon...

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#196 bazmagoo
January 16 2014, 11:14PM
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The way it's going the Oilers are going to get Ekblad, because they could finish last in the league again!

Wonder how nuts the Fire Lowe crowd would go if that happened, might have a riot on our hands.

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#197 samurai003
January 17 2014, 01:18PM
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Anton wrote:

I felt the Eakins was a wrong coach by second game and I felt that they should have fired Eakins by tenth game. And 50 games later that Eakins is still here. The moment when Eakins was thanking Eller for "inspiring" his team to beat Habs that's the moment that I feel so strongly which Eakins should be fired. Isn't that coach's job to inspire your own team?

His coaching has given us the Edmonton Marlies.

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#198 samurai003
January 17 2014, 01:25PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Grebeshkov and belov weren't calculated - they were emotional picks:'grebe was someone MacT liked and chose to hire despite there being plenty of other options that cost less and could be had on a two way contract. Below was personally scouted by MacT apparently and hired with little if any input from oilers scouts - a seat of the pants hire if you will, no calculators were harmed.

Seems to be a lot of emotional picks. Scrivens played for Eakins on the Marlies.

Katz picked Lowe, b/c no one else would hang out with Katz.

Lowe picked MacT and Howson, b/c no one would hang out with Lowe.

Did better with Tambo, Renney and Krueger, all of whom were voted off the island.

Now it's just the boys club.

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#199 Blucifer Copperballs
January 16 2014, 01:31PM
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1983 and This Year wrote:

Scene opens in Katz mansion. Lowe is in a leather chair, stroking a cat, flanked by Katz and MacT. Hendricks is led into the room, held by 2 guards.

Lowe: Matt, remember what I told you last summer? That's right, you hadn't seen the last of me. Someday, you would be mine. And now you know -- one way or another, I always get what I want.

Katz points towards Rexall

Katz: Now get in the pit with the others!

MacT throws his head back and laughs maniacally

End scene

AHHH.... so good.

If only they would be good enough sports to film it.

Very funny stuff.

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#200 Loweblows
January 16 2014, 01:57PM
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For some reason the game day predictions were hard to read. Atta boy JG.

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