GDB 51.0: HOCKEY DAY.... LEADERSHIP NEEDED

Jason Gregor
January 18 2014 11:06AM

It is Hockey Day in Canada, and all seven Canadian teams are in action. This year the Senators are the odd team out, playing at home vs. the Rangers, while the Canucks battle the Flames, Toronto is in Montreal and the Oilers take on the Jets at noon Edmonton time.

For some the noon start is great. You just rolled out of the wrapper after a long shift last night, celebrating nothing in particular, and you grab some left over pizza wash it down with some "hair of the dog" and settle in for another Oiler game. Your odds of catching a nap this afternoon depend mainly on how the game goes.

For others, the noon puck drop is the starting point for a raucous Saturday night. An afternoon Oiler win has been the catalyst for many "off the rails" Saturday nights in the past, and considering how rare a win in these days, I'm guessing many of the Nation's young partiers will have a glow by the end of the third regardless of the score. Even the woes of the Oilers can't derail your Saturday night.

The Nation readers with kids can watch the game together and then bolt outside for a spirited road hockey game or like I plan on doing, a fun game of shinny at the neighbourhood rink. It is Hockey Day in Canada, so you should either use the game as motivation for a party or to get outside and play hockey with family and friends.

LINEUP

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

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

Bryzgalov

Nail Yakupov will sit out due to concussion protocol. He has been placed on IR, and is eligible to return next Friday vs. Phoenix.

The Gagner experiment on the wing didn't produce much so he's back in the middle. If I'm Eakins I keep the top line together the rest of the year. Feel free to change out the other lines, but keep those three together.

I'm curious to see how Martin Marincin plays during the next few games. Many players have had a solid first ten games, but then they start to regress. If Marincin does that over the next week the Oilers should pull him aside tell him he played very well and send him back to the AHL before his confidence takes too much of a hit. If last game was just a blip and he returns to playing steady, then he will prove that he's ready to stay permanently.

Either way, I think this has been a very positive season in Marincin's development. The majority of player's development is never linear, so if he has a very peaks and valleys that is expected and the valleys shouldn't be viewed negatively.

QUICK HITS...

  • Perron is in a bit of a funk, which should be expected because he was producing more goals and points than he ever had in the first half of a season. He is still on pace to set new standards in goals and points, but he hasn't been as snarly lately. He plays better when he is agitating teams, and he needs to rediscover his greasy side.
     
  • In his last 28 games Mark Arcobello 4-4-8. He has played 2nd or 3rd line minutes in 23 of those games. The early season projections by some that he would be a 2nd line centre were premature then, and we are starting to see what type of NHL player he will be.
     
  • I could see him as a 4th line centre who kills penalties and if need be can move up the lineup for a few games, however, he is not a 2nd line centre if you want to be a winning team. That isn't a knock on him, just an observation of where I see him as a player.
     
  • If you are frustrated watching the Oilers, you might want to check out the Edmonton Rush. They are 3-0 and have outscored teams 45-24. Mark Matthews has 21 points in three games. They are good, and their next home game is February 1st. They won't replace the Oilers in your heart, but they could give you a nice distraction during the next few months.
     
  • Gagner has 16 points in his last 28 games, however, he's -12 in that span where he played 22 of those games on the top-two lines. Gagner looked tentative after returning from a broken jaw, and he's been a little bit better lately, but he didn't look great alongside RNH and Hall. After seven NHL seasons Gagner has shown he's a 45-50 point player. I don't see that changing, and considering his size and overall game, I don't see him as the long term answer as the 2nd line centre in Edmonton either. I could see him having a 60-point season on another team at some point, but in the next ten years I'd wager he'll average around 48-53 points.
     
  •  Sutherby had a very interesting response yesterday on my show when we were discussing the constant head coaching changes the young kids have endured. "You can continually shrug off the coach as a young player when they are constantly getting fired," said Sutherby.

    For me, that is the main reason the Oilers shouldn't can Eakins. At some point the players need to be held accountable. The Oilers best players are not consistent enough, and that is on them, not the coach. The only thing avenue the coach can take is to becoce a hard ass. Show the players video of their mistakes. If it happens twice, they miss a few shifts. If it happens a third time, sit them in the pressbox.

    It is difficult to treat all players equally, because their skill sets aren't equal, however, if the organization continues to blame the head coach for their losses, then the players will never change their habits. Eakins should be more of a disciplinarian down the stretch, and the organization needs to back their coach. If he needs to sit Hall, RNH, Eberle, Perron, J.Schultz or Petry to get his point across then he should, and the organization needs to back him up and have thick enough skin to endure the criticism that will come from those questioning the decision.
     
  • I'd also like to see MacTavish show some leadership and publicly state on Monday that his coach isn't going anywhere. The players need to know their coach will be here next year, so they can't just mail in the final 32 games. Of course some will question MacT's decision, but good leaders stand by their decisions and have the confidence to make decisions that aren't the most popular. I'm not certain he is a great GM, but leadership and character surfaces when things are bad, and right now things are pathetically woeful. Now is the time he needs to stand up and be a leader.

TONIGHT...

 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: I received a few emails asking me to predict an Oiler win until it happens. We've done it the other way before, so why not...Oiler fans deserve some happiness...Oilers win a 6-5.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Commenter pelham grenville will complain about the above picture, because some people aren't happy unless they are complaining. The rest of the Nation won't care, and will debate heavily over the merits of the coach, GM and players....

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Jones has played 313 NHL games. He's only scored two goals in a game once, December 2nd, 2011 when he had a hat-trick. He gets promoted to the 2nd line and stuns everyone by scoring a pair of goals. One deflects off his leg, while the other one is a tap-in-from-the-backdoor off a nifty pass by Perron.

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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#201 corky
January 18 2014, 05:42PM
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Huddy seems to always have employment in NHL. He must be doing something right.

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#202 D-Unit
January 18 2014, 05:42PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

Maurice; Okay guys , it's just one goal, we're not out of this by a long shot, keep plugging along

Eakins: Scowl, I hope we can hang on

Maurice: See guys, I told you we'd get back into it, great hustle, great effort pats on the back

Eakins: Scowl! WTF?

Maurice: Alright guys, I knew we could do it. Lets play smart now and try and go up another one!!

Eakins: Scowl! WTF?

Maurice: Thats okay guys, Lets stay sharp, keep playing our hockey game, it will come.

Eakins: Scowl! Wow, thank god, only 2 minutes left

Maurice: Keep hustling out there guys, fight for the puck, next goal wins.

Eakins: Scowl! Lets score guys and end this losing streak.

Maurice: Great game guys, thats the way to fight back and show character, outstanding effort, you never quit through the entire game.

Eakins: Scowl! WTF? What happened?

Moral of the story - Maurice has won three straight since taking over the Jets. I don't think the Oilers know what winning three games is like! We could have had Maurice. We choose to go with Emaciated Eakins.

I have always given McTavish the benefit of the doubt and was willing to cut him some slack. But Eakins sold him a bill of goods that was crap. If McTavish doesn't take the dressing room keys away from Eakins and his 3 Stooges before they get back to Edmonton, I'm seriously thinking McTavish has to go as well. If not, there better be more than one jersey on the ice at the next home game before the game even starts. This is just horse crap!!

Can anyone tell me, does Eakins ever talk to the players on the bench? Seems every time they show him on TV it is just a scowl. I also remember the game a while back when there was a time out, and no one in the coaching staff talked at all to the players.

If Eakins doesn't want to talk to the players during a game, he would be just as well off sitting up top with Lowe and MacT not knowing what to do.

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#203 Nowuknow
January 18 2014, 05:46PM
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@outdoorzguy

I love 99 but it has nothing to do with respect. It is all about what have you done for me lately. If you do not see that, ask coyotes or the Rangers with Slat...

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#204 Asian on Oilers Nation
January 18 2014, 05:53PM
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Bad for Ekblad! McDavid 2015!

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#205 D-Unit
January 18 2014, 06:03PM
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Asian on Oilers Nation wrote:

Bad for Ekblad! McDavid 2015!

Do you think this would work out any better than the "fall for Hall" or "Fail for Nail".

Too many people, fans, media, Oilers personnel have been wanting or hoping for losing for too long.

Only losers hope for losing. I have never been on board with this attitude, and I think no one should.

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#206 D-Unit
January 18 2014, 06:11PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

I agree man. There IS no quick fix. This is why I take issue with the chanting zombies who outline the following plan of action:

1. Fire Lowe 2. BAM! Stanley Cup™

There is no such quick fix. Who seriously thinks that these emotionally devoid robots we call Edmonton Oilers are that way because of Kevin Lowe?!?!

Guys like Serious Gord are back-road charlatans selling little green tinted bottles of snakeskin oil, negativity, and quick fixes.

A closer look at the bottles however reveals that there's nothing in them: the problem with this team is in that locker room and on that ice. These guys refuse to back each other up, refuse to play hard and stand up for each other.

The inmates have been running the asylum so long that they think they own the place. This is precisely why I agree with Gregor in that Eakins must not under any circumstances be fired. These little babies need a disciplinarian to put his foot down and show them that they need to start listening and play a proper 200 foot game. Ignoring the coach until he gets fired is no longer an option. Did you see Hall in the pre-game interview on the Oilers site? He was trying to cover his smirk when a high-offensive, lack of back-checking, cheating for offense 100' game was mentioned.

The problem here is on the ice and in the dressing room. Solve those.

The FIRE SOMEBODY plan of action is pandering to the lynch mob of simpletons who don't care about the details at all.

I think what Hall was saying can be loosely translated to "We aren't following Eakins game plan or playing how we are coached, but that's okay, we are doing our best at losing to get another coached fired."

At least that's how I heard it.

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#207 Bryzarro World
January 18 2014, 06:57PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

I agree man. There IS no quick fix. This is why I take issue with the chanting zombies who outline the following plan of action:

1. Fire Lowe 2. BAM! Stanley Cup™

There is no such quick fix. Who seriously thinks that these emotionally devoid robots we call Edmonton Oilers are that way because of Kevin Lowe?!?!

Guys like Serious Gord are back-road charlatans selling little green tinted bottles of snakeskin oil, negativity, and quick fixes.

A closer look at the bottles however reveals that there's nothing in them: the problem with this team is in that locker room and on that ice. These guys refuse to back each other up, refuse to play hard and stand up for each other.

The inmates have been running the asylum so long that they think they own the place. This is precisely why I agree with Gregor in that Eakins must not under any circumstances be fired. These little babies need a disciplinarian to put his foot down and show them that they need to start listening and play a proper 200 foot game. Ignoring the coach until he gets fired is no longer an option. Did you see Hall in the pre-game interview on the Oilers site? He was trying to cover his smirk when a high-offensive, lack of back-checking, cheating for offense 100' game was mentioned.

The problem here is on the ice and in the dressing room. Solve those.

The FIRE SOMEBODY plan of action is pandering to the lynch mob of simpletons who don't care about the details at all.

What kind of pompous douche do you have to be to assume everyone saying get rid of Lowe thinks that a stanley would follow soon after? You really think you're that much smarter than everyone else?

I can't stand people like you. You think so highly of yourself that you MUST be the only one to see and understand a point because all other points are stupid and yours is right.... Lame.

You say don't fire him and the players need to be held accountable but DALLAS CAN'T DO IT! For crying out loud! WTF are you people looking at? The guy is a voiceless zombie on the bench. His strategies to come in and reinvent the way we play failed. His motivational tactics he claimed to have failed. He doesn't hold players accountable on the ice. Just a bumbling goof...

Nobody in this organization is good enough with the exception of a select few. Bring in someone that is qualified, ACTUALLY knows about winning in today's game and hand them the keys. Can't get any worse and we get to flush the cloud of stench that has been looming for too long..

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#208 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 18 2014, 07:02PM
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@@Oilanderp

"The problem here is on the ice and in the dressing room. Solve those."

We have no competent people in management right now to solve those questions. We only have the people who created the issues.

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#209 Mason Storm
January 18 2014, 07:09PM
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Hopefully MacTavish doesn't have that ridiculous grin on his face (the one Tambo always had) like he accomplished something when he "wins" the lottery.

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#210 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 18 2014, 07:10PM
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S cottV wrote:

Eakins does not have the experience, the street credibility, the personna, the charisma and in general - the leadership to pull this off.

MacT has under estimated the task at hand from the get go. Thinking a rookie coach could handle this group of inflated ego rookies? It was a mistake and the Oilers don't have the slack to cover it.

Maurice was the guy but now - bring in Sutter for crying out loud. He can bring some 200 foot sanity into Oilers hockey.

totally agree Except that I dont think MacT under estimated as much as he just doesn't get it.

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#211 @Oilanderp
January 18 2014, 07:30PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

What kind of pompous douche do you have to be to assume everyone saying get rid of Lowe thinks that a stanley would follow soon after? You really think you're that much smarter than everyone else?

I can't stand people like you. You think so highly of yourself that you MUST be the only one to see and understand a point because all other points are stupid and yours is right.... Lame.

You say don't fire him and the players need to be held accountable but DALLAS CAN'T DO IT! For crying out loud! WTF are you people looking at? The guy is a voiceless zombie on the bench. His strategies to come in and reinvent the way we play failed. His motivational tactics he claimed to have failed. He doesn't hold players accountable on the ice. Just a bumbling goof...

Nobody in this organization is good enough with the exception of a select few. Bring in someone that is qualified, ACTUALLY knows about winning in today's game and hand them the keys. Can't get any worse and we get to flush the cloud of stench that has been looming for too long..

I am a pompous douche because I ask for a detailed plan instead of a cop-out chant to fire somebody as if that alone will fix everything?

How highly I think of myself bears absolutely NO regard in how this team is playing. I'm sorry that my expressing my desire to see more thought out posts here seems to make you think that I therefore believe that I am the only right person in the world....

From your post I gather that you think a coaching change would fix something. Fair enough, but haven't we been down that road before every year for the last 4? Can you not come up with something else?

There is no way in hell this team is doing anything close to what Eakins wants. I highly doubt Eakins' system details leaving guys wide open and alone in the slot.

I am tired of the mindless negativity on this site. My opinions come from that. By all means continue to engage in it if you want, but don't expect me to read it every day.

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#212 Oilcruzer
January 18 2014, 07:48PM
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Oliveoiler wrote:

Cheering for Preds tonight - Duby gets the start, bless him

3 goals on 20 shots so far. New team. Same Goalie.

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#213 TDSM31
January 18 2014, 08:06PM
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Having Eakins fired is not going to make this organization more successful!! Short term or long term. Give it a rest already. The Oilers problems are deep rooted stemming from management which has hired an incompetent scouting staff which has in turn led to the complete wrong mix of players on the ice. Plain and simple. Kevin Lowe needs to be terminated and a new POHO needs to come in and clean house on MacGregor and his staff. Its like blaming the cook for making sh*tty cookies when don't give him the right ingredients...blame the idiot that went grocery shopping!

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#214 Oilcruzer
January 18 2014, 08:15PM
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Dubnyk Update.

Make that 5 goals now.

0.792 Save Percentage and dropping.

The floor is open for questions.

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#215 Alsker
January 18 2014, 08:28PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Dubnyk Update.

Make that 5 goals now.

0.792 Save Percentage and dropping.

The floor is open for questions.

Uuugh...bet the Preds aren't used to those kinds of no.s...where are all the goofs crying the other day "bad return/should have got more"...lol.

Hendricks may not be glitter but he's guts and heart. 2 things we sorely lack.

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#216 FireKLowe
January 18 2014, 10:30PM
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Rather than Oilers games the only thing I look forward to these days is the day I wake up and find out jock-sniffing Katz has fired the SOB that has been in charge for this debacle for the last 8 years!

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#217 wintoon
January 19 2014, 07:29AM
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Children. Children. Please settle down. From all the accusations flying back and forth on this site it is evident that the Oilers "Good Ship Lollipop" is not doing too well these days.

Certainly agree it is frustrating for fans. Don't agree with many who are showing their anger by screaming for _____ (fill in the blank) to be fired.

The problem and the fix are more complicated than that. Have to hope that the team management group can find a way through this maze.

Until they do, stay humble and stay classy Oiler fans. Oh, and by the way, study up on draft prospects for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

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#218 poloismz
January 19 2014, 10:49PM
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@D-Unit

yes because the TV cameras only show the coach when he is either talking or not talking to players, why don't you go to a game record the coach for an entire game and post the results. very interested to see what you find, instead of conjecture, lets try some proof of what you speak of.

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