GDB 53.0: HOME COOKING...BAD

Jason Gregor
January 24 2014 12:48PM

The Oilers have played 23 home games. They have only won eight of them.

Last year they won 9 of 24 home games.  The last season the Oilers and their fans left Rexall place in a good mood more often than a bad one was in 2007/2008 when the Oilers won 23 of 41 home games.

Since October 2008, the Oilers have played 213 home games and they've won 86.

The Oilers have 18 home games remaining this season, and hopefully for their sakes and the fans, they can find a way to start winning on home ice.

When the Oilers finished dead last in 2010  they were at least competitive at home winning18 and losing 23 (OT loss is still a loss for me), so there is no reason this team shouldn't be able to match 18 wins or better it.

It won't be easy with 14 of the 18 games against western opponents.

They play the Kings, Ducks, Sharks and Flames twice and the Coyotes, Avalanche, Wild and Canucks once. The Senators, Rangers, Islanders and Sabres will visit from the East. Ten of those games will be against teams currently in the playoffs, but if the Oilers are going to start improving eventually they need to be a few playoff caliber teams, especially at home.

The Oilers won't make the playoffs, but they need to start building a foundation for the future, and one of those bricks needs to be molded into a good home team.

Of the current 16 playoff teams, only the Rangers have a losing record at home winning 12 of 28. Of the 14 teams not in the playoffs only three, Washington, Phoenix and Dallas have won than half of their home games. Winning at home doesn't guarantee you a playoff spot, but it increases your chances significantly, especially if you can be a dominant team at home.

The Oilers need to start creating winning habits at home, and since I highly, highly doubt Dallas Eakins gets fired at the end of the season, it is up to him and his team to start finding a winning formula on home ice.

HITS...

After Tuesday's loss to Vancouver Dallas Eakins made reference to "the perfect game."

Do you know what the perfect game is? The perfect game is no hits. Do you know why that is? It’s because you have the puck. You don’t have to hit anybody; you have the puck. 

That statement got some people excited. Many believe hitting doesn't help you win games, mainly due to the reason Eakins outlined above. In theory that makes sense, however, practicality and reality often offer up different outcomes.

There is no such thing as the perfect game, no hits, and many successful teams use their physical play to help them win. Here is a hit chart for this season. Playoff teams are in bold.

Hits Team Hits/game
1768 Toronto 33.3
1662 Los Angeles 31.9
1569 Ottawa 30.7
1519 Columbus 30.3
1397 Winnipeg 26.8
1323 Phoenix 26.4
1263 Buffalo 25.7
1263 Colorado 25.7
1300 Pittsburgh 25.4
1313 Philly 25.2
1232 Boston 25.1
1307 NYR 24.6
1298 NYI 24.5
1264 Anaheim 23.8
1181 Washington 23.6
1153 Carolina 23
1178 Edmonton 22.6
1093 Florida 21.8
1076 Calgary 21.1
1048 St.Louis 20.9
1047 Montreal 20.9
1049 New Jersey 20.5
1030 Dallas 20.1
1029 Tampa Bay 20.1
1030 Nashville 19.8
1015 Vancouver 19.5
963 San Jose 18.8
1001 Detroit 18.5
898 Minnesota 16.9
888 Chicago 16.7

I think we all agree that hit charts from building to building can be subjective. The Leafs have 1099 hits in 28 home games, but only 669 in 25 road games. Are they magically that much more physical at home or do the statisticians in Toronto consider every rub out a hit?

That being a team like Columbus has virtually the same amount of hits on the road as they do at home. I'd say it gives us a general idea of which teams are more physical than others.

The chart proves that some teams win by being more physical, while others don't need to.
Nine of the top-14 teams in hits are in the playoffs, while seven of the 11 teams with the fewest hits are currently in the postseason.

My issue with Eakins comment is that he tried to deflect the issue of contact and brought up the unattainable "perfect game" scenario. No team is perfect, but the suggestion that being physical will automatically decrease your chances of winning is somewhat misleading.

Of course you want your team to have the puck, but both teams want it, and I find many of the successful teams are not only good at controlling the puck, they are excellent at getting it back.

Many consider Pittsburgh to be a puck possession team, and they are, but they also are top-ten in hits/game. Delivering a hit hasn't hurt them, and clearly they win despite not playing a "perfect game."

A major benefit from being physical is that your aggressive play will force teams to move the puck quicker than they want, which often leads to turnovers. Having players who can separate opponents from the puck through body contact is also valuable and a significant part of the game.

The problem with the Oilers is that their overall skill isn't good enough to be a puck possession team, and right now they aren't very good at retrieving the puck once the opposition has it.

I'm sure Eakins will strive to build his team to become more of a puck possession team, but I'd hope he realizes that until they become great at protecting the puck and not turning it over, they will need to improve their puck retrieval skills at the same time, and often pressuring the puck carrier, hitting and being physical is the best way to create turnovers.

I respect that he wants his team to have the puck, but I felt bringing up the notion of the "perfect game" was an attempt to deflect attention away from an area of their game, physicality and aggression, that has been lacking for years.

LINEUP...

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

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Belov-Potter

Bryzgalov

Hemsky is still nursing a deep bone bruise, but Nail Yakupov returns to the lineup.

The optics don't look great having Yak on the fourth line and Smyth on the second, but I doubt they stay that way very long. They were hoping Hemsky was ready and he'd be playing there.

Gazdic hasn't had a fight in 13 games and while Eakins stressed being a healthy scratch wasn't performance-related, I wonder if his lack of aggressiveness recently is the reason he is in the pressbox? If your job is to play physical and get the opposition's attention, then you have to find a way to do it. However, Eakins defended him in the post-game presser on Tuesday saying he tried to do his job.

So either he isn't doing it well enough or he is sitting because Phoenix rarely dresses a tough guy. What do you think?

QUICK HITS...

  • I would have liked to see Eakins put Gazdic on the ice more often against Kassian. I never expected him to jump him, but had he been on the ice more often the chances of a "heat of the moment" altercation would have been higher.
     
  • I don't buy the Bertuzzi/Moore argument as a reason why Gazdic couldn't have done something to Kassian. That happened a decade ago, and since then many teams and players have found ways to send a message to the opposition without being suspended.

    Andrew Ference didn't ask Lee Stempniuk to fight earlier this year. He dropped his gloves and Stempniuk had no choice but to eat a few rights or defend himself. In the past week I've seen Milan Lucic and Tom Sestito go after Jordan Nolan instead of waiting for him to politely oblige their request to fight.

    Sestito and Lucic went after Nolan after he hit one of their teammates earlier in the game. Had Gazdic been on the ice for more than one and a half shifts against Kassian, he would have had a much better chance of engaging him.
     
  • I wouldn't have worried about Gazdic taking an instigator or even worse a 7-minute penalty like Sestito did in LA last week. Was getting the win that important in the overall picture? The Oilers are in 29th, had the won they'd still be in 29th and out of the playoffs in late January.

    Whether they like it or not, the perception from players around the league is that teams can take liberties with the Oilers skilled players without fear of retribution. If Gazdic had got a hold of Kassian and landed a few shots that wouldn't have stopped every team from trying to hit the Oilers in the future, but at least it would show that if you do there will be some consequences to your actions.

    If the Oilers were in a battle for a playoff spot, I could understand being worried about giving up an extended powerplay, but that wasn't the case on Tuesday and it won't be the rest of the season. I'd hope the next time someone cheap shots one of the Oilers skilled players, Eakins will at least give his physical players an opportunity to try and even the score; in a manner that won't lead to a suspension like Lucic or Sestito managed to do. 
     
  • It is smart not to rush Hemsky back. You want him healthy for the deadline.

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: I'm taking a night off. The first person to tweet @jasongregor their GDP I will add it to this post. Look deep into your crystal ball.

Update...Courtesy of @JaredGorbahn GDP: Oilers 4-1. Bryz forced to stand on his head and Hall adds 2 assists.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Yakupov and Arcobello combine to score and many will suggest they should be playing with Perron.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eberle ties a career-high with goals in four consecutive games, but it is his game celebration that surprises many. After the game he sends Wanye a tweet, "I know yesterday was difficult for you with the Biebs' arrest. Don't worry I won't let you down. I'm not getting traded." Wanye promptly retires from twitter saying his life can't possibly get any better. 

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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#101 MessyEH
January 24 2014, 04:45PM
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Stompinstoms wrote:

Barry Trotz is one of the most respected coaches in the business, I think we can all agree on that. Here's what he said the other day regarding his new goaltender acquisition:

"Devan Dubnyk came from Edmonton, and let's just say... he has some bad habits."

Why is this not a bigger story? To me it's actual proof that the Oilers are the laughingstock of the league.

It's not the first time this season it's happened, either. When Smid went to Calgary, he said to reporters that the practices were much more intense and involved than what he was used to in Edmonton.

These statements are extremely concerning to me, and aren't getting the attention they deserve. Who cares what Eakins said to Spector in a press conference after a meaningless game.

This all day.

That would be the job of the POHO. Fire Lowe and purge the coaches with tenure. Bucky, Smith and whatever idiot broke Dubnyk.

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#102 Quick-E
January 24 2014, 04:47PM
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Watch the oiler game or count the cars that drive by my house?? I'm thinking counting the cars will be much more entertaining

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#103 Larry
January 24 2014, 04:55PM
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This website is still up? Why? Who cares?

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#104 Hair bag
January 24 2014, 05:03PM
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I AM KEVIN L. wrote:

Trashes for a bold move!!!! Wow. What do you guys want? A winner? Or a loser? We all know that Edmonton WILL lose again tonight. Status quo = loser. Improve your D = winner.

First off Montreal would never make the deal and second if we are going to go for a Number one and two d-man let's set our sites higher.....we need character to lead the young Oilers not a distraction like Subban (no matter how talented her is) who even pisses off even his own teammates...

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#105 Hair bag
January 24 2014, 05:05PM
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Hair bag wrote:

First off Montreal would never make the deal and second if we are going to go for a Number one and two d-man let's set our sites higher.....we need character to lead the young Oilers not a distraction like Subban (no matter how talented her is) who even pisses off even his own teammates...

If we're going to dream we might as well go for Shea Weber....

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#106 I AM KEVIN L.
January 24 2014, 05:07PM
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Hair bag wrote:

If we're going to dream we might as well go for Shea Weber....

No bold moves are agreed upon from the arm chair GMs..... We have the team that we deserve... STOP COMPLAINING!!!

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#107 Dog Train
January 24 2014, 05:14PM
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Hits can be a misleading stat but anybody who watches the Oilers knows that they don't battle hard enough. They don't finish enough of their checks and they lose too many puck battles. The proof is in our record, we are downright awful.

I like that Smyth is on the first unit PP. It's pretty obvious why our PP sucks. No shooting threat and no screen in front. How the hell do we expect to score? Say what you want about Yakupov's overall game but his one-timer needs to be featured on the PP.

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#108 Sketchy
January 24 2014, 05:17PM
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Dog Train wrote:

Hits can be a misleading stat but anybody who watches the Oilers knows that they don't battle hard enough. They don't finish enough of their checks and they lose too many puck battles. The proof is in our record, we are downright awful.

I like that Smyth is on the first unit PP. It's pretty obvious why our PP sucks. No shooting threat and no screen in front. How the hell do we expect to score? Say what you want about Yakupov's overall game but his one-timer needs to be featured on the PP.

Why would you use a 20 year old 1st overall pick to his strengths?? That makes no sense!! Bench him and destroy his coincidence and passion for the game!! That's how you win hockey games!!!

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#109 wergy
January 24 2014, 05:27PM
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Sketchy wrote:

Why would you use a 20 year old 1st overall pick to his strengths?? That makes no sense!! Bench him and destroy his coincidence and passion for the game!! That's how you win hockey games!!!

Why would you destroy his coincidence? I don't get that at all.

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#110 camdog
January 24 2014, 05:36PM
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@Dog Train

In years past Corey Potter worked on the power play. Don't know if he would help the powerplay, but what I do know is that it wouldn't hurt trying to find somebody on this team that can one time a shot from the point. Sometime having a bunch of skilled forwards pass the puck around in circles looking for a pretty goal isn't the best way to score on a powerplay.

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#111 Sketchy
January 24 2014, 05:41PM
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wergy wrote:

Why would you destroy his coincidence? I don't get that at all.

*Confidence... spell check on the phone changed it, thought you'd maybe be able to figure that out. good to know you're looking out

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#112 Rick Stroppel
January 24 2014, 05:44PM
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Stompinstoms wrote:

We don't have our own 2nd, 3rd, or 4th; we have San Jose's 4th, so that will be a deep 4th.

In other words, we don't have a lot of picks to be throwing around that will bring anything of meaning back.

GOTTA LOVE THE "PLAN"

Somebody better explain this to the Little Billionaire. According to his letter, we need to be patient, and we are building through the draft.

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#113 sleighbells
January 24 2014, 05:54PM
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camdog wrote:

Are you referring to the Twitter fiasco that was started by a Leaf guy from Toronto, whom was throwing jabs at an ex Leaf and Edmonton in the same boat?

yup. its just a recent example of why a lot of guys would hate playing for a Canadian team.

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#114 TigerUnderGlass
January 24 2014, 05:56PM
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Sketchy wrote:

*Confidence... spell check on the phone changed it, thought you'd maybe be able to figure that out. good to know you're looking out

Don't cry. He didn't slap your mother. He made a joke because you had an amusing autocomplete error.

Oilers fans are getting softer than the team.

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#115 Freewheeling Freddie
January 24 2014, 05:59PM
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The bad the Oilers are out of the playoff race. The good only 8 months till the false promises begin again. It pains me to think we are worse than Calgary Ny Islanders Florida and so on. How did these buffoons let this happen? Before the Oilers make the first pick Katz should come on stage with a paperbag over his head. On the other hand the letter made feel so much better for the future of this team LOL. Mr Katz we don't want a 30th place hockey team christening your shiny new palace do we? No pressure Mac.

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#116 Grant Fuhr
January 24 2014, 06:04PM
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Coke or Pepsi? That is the question...

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#117 TeddyTurnbuckle
January 24 2014, 06:08PM
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That hits chart is garbage. I think they add in how many times the octane girls dance to "Mama said knock you out". No one in the top six on the Oilers hits anyone.

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#118 Larry
January 24 2014, 06:11PM
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Does it really matter when a 175lb player is hitting a 210lb player?

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#119 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 24 2014, 06:19PM
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There is a lot that I disagree with here, but to keep it straightforward, let's go with this:

"The chart proves that some teams win by being more physical, while others don't need to."

This is false.

If it proves anything, it is that some teams which are more physical also win, not that they win because they are more physical.

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#120 Rick Stroppel
January 24 2014, 06:35PM
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OILERS SKILLS COMPETITION TOMORROW!!!!

Saturday at noon. REALLY looking forward to these features:

1. Skating demo: Ryan Smyth.

2. Backchecking demo: Gagner, Yakupov.

3. Shadowboxing : Luke Gadzic.

4. How to Freeze Your Face And Show No Expression for 2.5 hours (like those statues on Easter Island): Dallas Eakins.

(Insert additional bad jokes here.........)

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#121 sassy
January 24 2014, 06:41PM
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#StayBadEvenWithEkblad

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#122 THRNHJE
January 24 2014, 07:00PM
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As for the whole Kassian didnt want to fight thing, if SMac was on the ice with Kassian, he would not have taken no for an answer. Kassian is a disrespectful thug. SMac would have beat some respect into him.

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#123 Rick Stroppel
January 24 2014, 07:02PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

OILERS SKILLS COMPETITION TOMORROW!!!!

Saturday at noon. REALLY looking forward to these features:

1. Skating demo: Ryan Smyth.

2. Backchecking demo: Gagner, Yakupov.

3. Shadowboxing : Luke Gadzic.

4. How to Freeze Your Face And Show No Expression for 2.5 hours (like those statues on Easter Island): Dallas Eakins.

(Insert additional bad jokes here.........)

I almost forgot:

5. "Bad Things Happen When You Play Hockey Without A Helmet" Special safety demo for the kiddies, courtesy of Craig MacTavish.

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#124 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 24 2014, 07:06PM
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@J.R.

Eakins blows deer balls......

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#125 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 24 2014, 07:06PM
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@J.R.

Eakins blows deer balls......

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#126 madjam
January 24 2014, 07:08PM
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Well one thing seems almost certain - Katz has no clue how to build a contender ?

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#127 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 24 2014, 07:11PM
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@Jason Gregor

Until Eakins releases the hounds......it'll be a crime scene every time Hall, Nuge or Eberle get run over so bad they'll be needing goon insurance!

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#128 RexHolez
January 24 2014, 07:11PM
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Hope Bryz throws his stick in the air again in frustration! Atleast someone's throwing somthing on the ice!!! Here's looking at you fans with jerseys to throw!!!

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#129 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 24 2014, 07:13PM
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@MessyEH

I respect Trotz for speaking his mind. Enough said.

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#130 tealyni
January 24 2014, 07:14PM
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@Rick Stroppel

This is exponentially more entertaining than watching the game. Oh yea, I just remembered, I can't watch the game, because i am boycotting the oilers. I ended my cable subscription…. LOWE MUST GO!!!

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#131 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 24 2014, 07:16PM
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@Rick Stroppel

Add Kassian goon dividing....with score cards for artistic talent!

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#132 Bender
January 24 2014, 07:18PM
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Stompinstoms wrote:

Barry Trotz is one of the most respected coaches in the business, I think we can all agree on that. Here's what he said the other day regarding his new goaltender acquisition:

"Devan Dubnyk came from Edmonton, and let's just say... he has some bad habits."

Why is this not a bigger story? To me it's actual proof that the Oilers are the laughingstock of the league.

It's not the first time this season it's happened, either. When Smid went to Calgary, he said to reporters that the practices were much more intense and involved than what he was used to in Edmonton.

These statements are extremely concerning to me, and aren't getting the attention they deserve. Who cares what Eakins said to Spector in a press conference after a meaningless game.

I third this......u hear this and are expected to trust management and the coaching staff they have in place.

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#133 Bender
January 24 2014, 07:18PM
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Stompinstoms wrote:

Barry Trotz is one of the most respected coaches in the business, I think we can all agree on that. Here's what he said the other day regarding his new goaltender acquisition:

"Devan Dubnyk came from Edmonton, and let's just say... he has some bad habits."

Why is this not a bigger story? To me it's actual proof that the Oilers are the laughingstock of the league.

It's not the first time this season it's happened, either. When Smid went to Calgary, he said to reporters that the practices were much more intense and involved than what he was used to in Edmonton.

These statements are extremely concerning to me, and aren't getting the attention they deserve. Who cares what Eakins said to Spector in a press conference after a meaningless game.

I third this......u hear this and are expected to trust management and the coaching staff they have in place.

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#134 Alsker
January 24 2014, 07:26PM
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Well Trotz doing us a favor starting Dubby in the town of cows tonight. Keeps us from oopsing a nd moving up towards the fLamers. Ekblad here we come!!!

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#135 RexHolez
January 24 2014, 07:28PM
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Obvious Game Day Prediction: Oiler fans remain bent over, followed by an explanation of the learning experience the team just went thru, followed shortly by the promise of great things soon to come,

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#136 Sketchy
January 24 2014, 07:33PM
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Can't the NHL come up with a mercy rule and just cancel the rest of the oilers season?

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#137 Quick-E
January 24 2014, 07:36PM
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If I won the lottery 3 times and still walked around broke, I'd be looking for new guys to handle my money

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#138 D-Unit
January 24 2014, 07:37PM
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Stompinstoms wrote:

Barry Trotz is one of the most respected coaches in the business, I think we can all agree on that. Here's what he said the other day regarding his new goaltender acquisition:

"Devan Dubnyk came from Edmonton, and let's just say... he has some bad habits."

Why is this not a bigger story? To me it's actual proof that the Oilers are the laughingstock of the league.

It's not the first time this season it's happened, either. When Smid went to Calgary, he said to reporters that the practices were much more intense and involved than what he was used to in Edmonton.

These statements are extremely concerning to me, and aren't getting the attention they deserve. Who cares what Eakins said to Spector in a press conference after a meaningless game.

Not that I disagree with what you are saying, but can anyone tell me when Dubnyk didn't have "Bad habits" in his game?

If Trotz comments surprised anyone, other than that he said it, you must not have been watching DD when he played in Edmonton.

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#139 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 24 2014, 07:39PM
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Here's hoping the Budweiser Goal Light tonight at the local watering hole I'm at will get a good workout!

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#140 Sketchy
January 24 2014, 07:47PM
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Robert (AKA Hockey Fan) wrote:

Here's hoping the Budweiser Goal Light tonight at the local watering hole I'm at will get a good workout!

Hope it's wired to go off for the Phoenix goals

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#141 Gk1980
January 24 2014, 07:57PM
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I know we suck and will continue to lose but I at least want these guys to lose as men. I want them to play pissed off. Maybe gain a grain of respect from the rest of the league.

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#142 Quick-E
January 24 2014, 07:57PM
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The circus is in town. They gave 20 anorexic ballerinas skates and broom sticks and out them on the ice with some team from the dessert. How is that not entertaining?

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#143 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 24 2014, 08:03PM
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@Sketchy

Didn't work......well the Coyotes scored lol

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#144 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 24 2014, 08:03PM
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@Sketchy

Didn't work......well the Coyotes scored lol

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#145 RexHolez
January 24 2014, 08:04PM
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Sketchy wrote:

Can't the NHL come up with a mercy rule and just cancel the rest of the oilers season?

I like this idea. Make these boys work a rig for the rest of the winter and turn them into men.

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#146 Moog's helmet
January 24 2014, 08:04PM
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I love my Oilers but I wonder..What will this franchise be most remembered for 50 years from now? How good we were in the 80's or how bad we are now?

I'm only sort of kidding..

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#147 SylvanLaker
January 24 2014, 08:06PM
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@Dog Train

There is one word that I think sums up, the team and has for many years....NO TENACITY. We now have two lines that will only get better.....but our third and forth lines are a joke....I suggest anyone go back and look at our third and fourth lines when we were winning....I agree put Smyth in from of the net, where he has scored most of his goals....and SHOOT. We need a good coach...sort of like a 6'4 center who wins 80% Face Offs, plays tough, finishes checks, works hard every shift, and a low salary.....LOLOL So where do we find this man.......

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#148 Gk1980
January 24 2014, 08:06PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I like this idea. Make these boys work a rig for the rest of the winter and turn them into men.

How about military boot camp

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#149 SylvanLaker
January 24 2014, 08:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
5
props

@D-Unit

Maybe the trade should have been Trotz for Dubnyk

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#150 spliff
January 24 2014, 08:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
10
props

Are the Oilers good at anything? Their management, coaching, scouting, drafting, player development, goaltender development, PR and rebuilding plan all suck. KLoser and MacT must have enormous egos, and be unbelievably arrogant, to see any shred of evidence that they have the requisite skills to be in their positions. Also, if fans aren't happy with the game experience at Rexall (music, cheerleaders etc) then why don't they do a little research and find out which buildings in the league have great game experiences, and then find out who is providing this service and pay them to do it at Rexall. Why is this so complicated? The people running this organization are absolute amateurs. Embarrassing and laughing stock of the league.

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