THE PITCH: TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Robin Brownlee
February 06 2014 11:28PM

Whether you go by gut-feeling or spreadsheet, there's no way of knowing for sure if Ben Scrivens is the real deal the Edmonton Oilers have been waiting for in the goal crease, but there's no question he's making a compelling and timely case that he is.

I gave my take on Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov and Edmonton's goaltending situation a few days ago as both approach UFA status, so I won't re-paint the big picture I outlined, but it's difficult not to look at Scrivens again after he made 35 saves in a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers.

With six games in the books for the Oilers, the 27-year-old stopper from Spruce Grove has stopped 219 of the 231 shots he's faced, which translates to a .948 saves percentage. He's 3-3-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average.

Small sample size (as the stats guys are fond of saying)? Sure. Does six games mean GM Craig MacTavish should back up the Brink's truck for Scrivens to convince him not to test the UFA market? No. This could be a remarkably hot stretch, nothing more.

REALITY CHECK

That said, the reality is MacTavish does not have the luxury of taking a longer look than what he'll get beyond the end of the regular season where Scrivens is concerned. There's an element of risk because of that.

The way I see it, MacTavish would be well-advised to make Scrivens and agent Jay Fee an offer sooner rather than later. At the same time, it makes sense for Scrivens and Fee to let this play out and test the market. I tend to think that's how it'll unfold.

One thing's certain, Scrivens couldn’t have picked a better time to play the best goal of his brief NHL career. Every time he puts in a performance like he did against the Rangers, his price goes up. While he's not going to play at a .948 clip indefinitely, he's going to get paid.

ALL THAT TALK ABOUT SAM

I'd like to think that even Sam Gagner's harshest critics, and there are many who fall into that category, understand that trading him to the Los Angeles Kings for Kyle Clifford straight up is a move only a fool would make. Say what you want about MacTavish, he's no fool.

While it's nonsense on so many levels, at least as a one-for-one swap, there's so much smoke surrounding discussions between L.A. GM Dean Lombardi and MacTavish that there's got to be some fire there. One supposed insider even suggested today via Twitter Gagner would be shipped to Tinseltown before the New York game. Well, no.

The only way a swap involving Gagner and Clifford makes sense – I'm not the first to suggest this – is if there's other players involved on both sides, and I'm not just talking about Lombardi flipping the draft pick the Oilers gave up for Scrivens back to Edmonton.

Youngster Tyler Toffoli, a centre, was the subject of much speculation as an add-in from the L.A. side of things, but that tips the scales too far in favor of the Oilers for Lombardi to bite. If this talk turns into a trade, there's got to be somebody from Edmonton's end going south to square it up.

WHAT ABOUT RAMSAY?

If the Oilers are looking to add a coach to their staff in support of Eakins between now and next season -- they are -- they should be taking a long look at Craig Ramsay, who was sacked by the Florida Panthers last November when head coach Kevin Dineen was let go.

Ramsay, 62, who has made coaching stops with Florida, Ottawa, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2004, is the kind of teacher and technical coach who'd be a fit here.

WHILE I'M AT IT . . .

. . . I said it on Twitter today and I'll say it again: while I see a need for MacTavish to bolster his forwards with grit and size that can play in the top six, I'd like to think he's making calls about proven defensemen. You won’t get a top-pairing blueliner for Gagner, but I'd like to think he can fetch a veteran capable of playing in the second pairing here.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 pkam
February 07 2014, 09:35AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Do you think Justin Schultz might be having some regret with his decision?

Remember when they sent that DVD then went to Kelowna begging Heatly to come here.Awwwww good times.

The management should not get credit for beating the other 28 team in landing Justin if he regrets about his decision? Really?

So the Ducks management must be much worse than ours because a player they drafted regretted to be drafted by them so much and wanted out before his ELC with them.

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#102 Westcoastoil
February 07 2014, 09:35AM
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You can't get drunk and pay Scrivens on .948 in 6 games. What is the market for a top backup or Potential #1? That plus maybe 15% tops because you're over a barrel, but any more makes no sense because what other team is going to pay him more than that? Spend the rest on fixing the D

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#103 vetinari
February 07 2014, 09:36AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Yup, 3pm eastern 1pm mountain time.

Are your fingers crossed?

Where are the Barons today and if something happened by 1:00 pm, would the Oilers have enough time to call up a player or two for tonight's game?

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#104 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
February 07 2014, 09:47AM
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Just heard Letang is out six weeks after suffering a stroke? Lordy, hope he's okay.

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#105 Oiler Al
February 07 2014, 09:57AM
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I think the Bernier model would be appropriate for Scrivens as well: 13-14 = $2.400 .. 14-15=$3.400[cap numbers]/

Bishop was signed to 2.33 x 2 yrs. Schnider 4.00x 2 yrs Backstrom 3.400 and Harding 1.900 Mason 4.100 x 3 yrs. [ new contract ]

So lets not think in millions here. He still has to prove himself for a long term deal.

Will have to find a cheaper and younger back up. Bryz.. see ya.

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#106 Manfly
February 07 2014, 09:57AM
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GriffCity wrote:

Scrivens has been excellent yes, but he has not proven that he is a starter over 82 games and cannot justify being worth 4 mil just yet even to play in Edmonton. I do agree that the Oilers should sign the Spruce Grove native but not as a lock for the #1 position. Sure if he keeps up his great play through then end of the year and somehow the Oilers claw there way back to .500 hockey then I would say he is our guy for sure. In either case I feel that the Oilers should sign him asap and if he falls off over the rest of the season at least you have a viable backup for next year who could push for the #1 spot. Back ups don't make 4 millions dollars a season and up to this point in his NHL career that is all Scrivens has been. Signing him now will be cheaper than signing him at seasons end regardless of how well or poorly he plays from here moving forward. 2 -2.5 million would be fair on both ends.

i doubt Scrivins is going to get $4 mil from the Oilers anyways, but look at Jonathan Bernier. he was "unproven" in LA having backed up Quick for many seasons and played no more than 25 games in a season for them. he's not getting $4 mil either, but he has clearly become the Leafs #1 goalie as the season has progressed. so i'm hoping we can have the same thing happen here with Scrivins. have him and another goalie battle it out next season and see if he can become the #1 we have long sought. i am willing to gamble on this guy.

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#107 pkam
February 07 2014, 10:10AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

I think the Bernier model would be appropriate for Scrivens as well: 13-14 = $2.400 .. 14-15=$3.400[cap numbers]/

Bishop was signed to 2.33 x 2 yrs. Schnider 4.00x 2 yrs Backstrom 3.400 and Harding 1.900 Mason 4.100 x 3 yrs. [ new contract ]

So lets not think in millions here. He still has to prove himself for a long term deal.

Will have to find a cheaper and younger back up. Bryz.. see ya.

Isn't a cheaper and younger back up with a young and unproven starter the problem that the Leafs ran into 2 years ago?

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#108 tileguy
February 07 2014, 10:14AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Linus Omark waived by the Sabres . . . another organization that has failed to understand his offensive brilliance and potential. If you can't hack it in the NHL on two bottom-feeders, then chances are you just can't hack it in the NHL, period.

Don't we loose a draft choice because he didn't play 15 game? Iam so full of crow on this guy let's never speak his name again.

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#109 Rama Lama
February 07 2014, 10:25AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

6th round conditional pick, so it's a big blow to the Oilers. They always uncover gems that deep in the draft.

Lots of people who should be eating crow on the underlying brilliance of Mr. Omark. You're one of the few who admits it.

Omark and his career was a direct result of the power of social media....... also goes to show how desperate Oiler fans were for a good news story.

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#110 K Pal
February 07 2014, 10:25AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Anyone else find it interesting that Scrivens pads and mask still retain his old teams colors? At least Bryz wore a white mask and pads. Scrivens is not re signing here folks.

Don't forget Scrivens has been using his mask and pads this season. Bryz on the other hand, most likely burned his old equipment the day he was bought out. I'm pretty sure a comparison is not relevant.

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#111 pkam
February 07 2014, 10:30AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

6th round conditional pick, so it's a big blow to the Oilers. They always uncover gems that deep in the draft.

Lots of people who should be eating crow on the underlying brilliance of Mr. Omark. You're one of the few who admits it.

Does it mean we still get a 7th round pick?

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#112 DisappointedFan
February 07 2014, 10:31AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Do you think Justin Schultz might be having some regret with his decision?

Remember when they sent that DVD then went to Kelowna begging Heatly to come here.Awwwww good times.

He's a 1/2 Defensemen on the Oilers playing big minutes every night likely to get a big pay raise. I don't think he regrets a thing. This team will be good in a few seasons...I don't think he's too worried just yet.

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#113 Ed in Edmonton
February 07 2014, 10:41AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Linus Omark waived by the Sabres . . . another organization that has failed to understand his offensive brilliance and potential. If you can't hack it in the NHL on two bottom-feeders, then chances are you just can't hack it in the NHL, period.

The Predators must be laughing now. They will be able to pick up Omark and not have to give up Weber!!

If only fancy shoot out goals in the KHL makes an NHL player.

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#114 DisappointedFan
February 07 2014, 10:54AM
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@Help Me

See I think what you forget is that as much as we all see the negativity around KLowe and the FOKs we forget that on any other team in the league these players would be getting severely reduced minutes or starts.

You don't think Scrivens is doing his best right now because he wants to be a starter. He's not going to get magically signed elsewhere in the league to be a starter. He'll get signed as a backup goaltender. Why would he want that? He wants to play hockey and show that he is a starter. If that means playing a 60 game worth season for the Oilers and bringing them up the standings teams will notice and he'll get signed the big bucks.

How do you think Luongo became such a high end goaltender on the losing Florida Panthers? Because they let him start he proved he is an NHL starter and then moved on from there. If Scrivens can prove he is a legit starter in the NHL then when his Oilers contract ends (if he resigns here) he'll move on and get paid top dollars.

Until then, the best he does is backup to someone who has a winning record and an established goaltender.

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#115 Marcus
February 07 2014, 11:11AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Anyone else find it interesting that Scrivens pads and mask still retain his old teams colors? At least Bryz wore a white mask and pads. Scrivens is not re signing here folks.

BTW, NHL goalies don't get their equipment from Sport Check. Custom made and it's on the way.

https://twitter.com/VaughnHockey/status/425681312754569217

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#116 Oiler Al
February 07 2014, 11:24AM
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pkam wrote:

Isn't a cheaper and younger back up with a young and unproven starter the problem that the Leafs ran into 2 years ago?

Recall when and young , unproven, starter beat the Oilers in the 2006 Stanley Cup.

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#117 oilerjed
February 07 2014, 11:32AM
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@Spoils

Or this will work the opposite as you are seeing it. The closer we get to the trade deadline the more teams will decide to be sellers and Gags value goes further down the sewer. And as a team that has been begging for average goaltending, is it really wise to put scrivens in play? Its about time the the oilers started solidifying(sp?) some roster spots or there will be no chance of signing anyone useful in the offseason.

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#118 Randaman
February 07 2014, 11:32AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

MacT isn't firing Eakins between now and the start of next season.

He will add a veteran coach -- my vote as of now is Ramsay -- before they change the head coach again. My sense is Smith and Buchberger are on shakier ground than Eakins.

I pray that you are correct about Smith & Buchberger. They need to be gone. PERIOD!!

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#119 Oilbaron
February 07 2014, 11:55AM
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Ok this is one of those times when you have to put the stats aside and instead use your eyes with your brain to judge goal-tending capability.

Look at the way Scrivens plays. Look at the Callahan stop and listen to him explain his reaction on the play.

Look at the San Jose game... Dubnyk would never make be able to make some of those stops

Sign this guy up now, he'll be worth every penny

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#120 Max
February 07 2014, 12:13PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Anyone else find it interesting that Scrivens pads and mask still retain his old teams colors? At least Bryz wore a white mask and pads. Scrivens is not re signing here folks.

If that's all you have to be concerned about, you are a sad character. Maybe he LIKES his Shakespeare quotes, maybe he's too busy worrying about relocating his family, schools for his kids etc., maybe, just maybe his spare time is occupied with intense training to be the number 1, with trying to find a home for his family and with less mundane things to think about rather than changing his mask right now.

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#121 Lochenzo
February 07 2014, 12:21PM
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Trading away Gagner for a winger seems inconsistent with the stated goal of this team being a possession type team. You need guys at centre and defence that can control the puck. The Oilers don't have enough of these possession-type guys at either position. I can understand moving Gagner and filling the void with a better 2-way centre for the 2nd line, but that means you'd better have another deal in your back pocket.

And then there is the issue of finding a top-2 Dman, which means another deal, but you've traded away two bargaining chips already.

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#122 Lochenzo
February 07 2014, 12:24PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

Yak looked great to me last night. Good positionally, not all over the map as he was earlier in the year. The goal he scored was due to him being in position, third man high.

Yak's got plenty of emotions and talent. He just needs to channel it in the right way and last night, I did see a lot of that.

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#123 SRELIOFAN
February 07 2014, 12:31PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Anyone else find it interesting that Scrivens pads and mask still retain his old teams colors? At least Bryz wore a white mask and pads. Scrivens is not re signing here folks.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but his equipment doesn't even have the Kings logo on it! It looks pretty awesome, so why should Scrivens rush getting new gear when he doesn't even know if he's going to be staying here?

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#124 A-Mc
February 07 2014, 12:41PM
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Remember folks, There are only 4 games between now and the trade deadline. The situation teams are in today is likely the same come March 5th.

You wont know any more about Scrivens as a player by the Trade Deadline than you already do. Mac T has this time to negotiate and see where the scrivens camp is at.

Also, In terms of teams grabbing players in the next 20 mins, it doesn't make much sense for them because they'll be paying that salary over the olympic break w/o any games being played. Might as well wait until afterwards.

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#125 A-Mc
February 07 2014, 12:50PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Draft the future second line center at the draft this year....

Gagner is too small, dump his cap, trade him and fill some team holes...

Clifford, King and Muzzin

For

Gagner @2.4 for 2 years

There is no possible way that trade would ever happen.

Muzzin has the 3rd highest TOI of all LA defensemen (making him part of the 3/4 tandem) and his salary is 1m/yr. LA wouldnt part with that kind of value even if it were straight up Muzzin for Gagner @ 2.4.

There was an LAK insider on the Gregor show last night that said LA is quite high on Muzzin and they have no plans to move him for anything other than part of a much bigger deal. Specifically, nothing involving Gagner as the sole item coming back.

At this point, I think we might be lucky to get Clifford and King for Gagner but something tells me even that wont happen (from LA's point of view).

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#126 Truth
February 07 2014, 12:58PM
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Omark needs to play one more game for any team in the NHL in order for Buffalo to be forced to give the Oilers a 6th round pick. What is stopping the Oilers from picking him up off waivers and dressing him for a game instead of Gazdic?

Is there a rule preventing that?

A six round pick likely turns into nothing at all, but it could also be a lottery ticket to the next Pavel Datsyuk. Better to have a ticket than nothing.

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#127 scott
February 07 2014, 01:20PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Given our recent history of really bad goaltender........I would be ready to sign a cut out. I think it would be wise to make Scrivens an offer now on a two year deal, if he will accept that?

Robin I heard your assesment along with Gregor and you both brought up some good points on Gagner. What if LA offered their first round pick along with Clifford, would that do it?

The asset would be gold around the draft and could be traded for a real player that the Oil need.

Rama you have lost your mind. Read my lips NO MORE DRAFT PICKS

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#128 DisappointedFan
February 07 2014, 01:41PM
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@tabs

If MacT has some serious blackmail on Lombardi then that could happen

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#129 DisappointedFan
February 07 2014, 01:58PM
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@tabs

You would trade the hardest working, most productive player on the Oilers...

Are you the same kind of person that would trade Crosby or Ovechkin off your team?

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#130 tabs
February 07 2014, 02:00PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

Umm..re-read my comment..

I'm telling you that I don't think he's worth the $4.8mil and that there is no way Lombardi wants to pick up that kind of contract straight up in exchange for a big forward. Unless the Oilers were retaining a huge chunk of Gagners salary it's not happening.

My bad, you're absolutely right.

Last summer I valued Gagner as high as a low 2nd round pick, King is much better then a 2nd round pick plus the Kings would be paying on an inflated contract.

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#131 DisappointedFan
February 07 2014, 02:12PM
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@tabs

He's also a franchise player, a player like Eberle, Yak or Gagner are expendable assets. Hall is the kind of player you try and build a team around. Is he the same caliber as Crosby, no, but he's the kind of player you don't ever want to trade because of what he does for your team.

I would trade some serious pieces for Weber in a heart beat, but certainly not our best player.

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#132 Danger Pay
February 07 2014, 02:16PM
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Make an Offer. Management practically gave the net to Duby and he blew it, Big time. The problem is, does Scrivens want to play here?

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#133 DisappointedFan
February 07 2014, 04:44PM
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help me wrote:

The whole works needs to go. Lowe mac t and all the old boys. 14 years. No player wants to come to an organization with the worst management in the league. They will be chasing 4th liners and bottom players as long as they are in charge.

Are u paying 15000 a year for the past 10 yrs to be the last place team. The lowe type 1 fan is tired of it.

The only people who should be shelling out $15,000/year are people who wouldn't complain about having shelled out $15,000/year for a bad product.

Ever consider no one wants to trade with the Oilers because we don't have anything they want...?

Lowe I can't understand shoo'ing away, same with Bucky and Steve, MacT has no hand to play, and Eakins is still trying to learn to coach the NHL.

The only people who can make an IMMEDIATE difference, are the players on the ice. End of story, if they don't play smart, they won't win. Kevin Lowe isn't magically holding their sticks or threatening them "IF YOU PLAY WELL I'LL CUT YOU!" and if he is, then yeah I can see your point.

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#134 oilersfan123
February 07 2014, 05:15PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

The first statement, 4-12-2 since then they have improved? Where exactly can a 29th or 30th team go but up? Does it mean there actual getting better? Or are they now seeing other teams Qual Comp less?

When was the last team to play there starting goalie against the Oilers?

How much time did the other teams star players play against the Oilers? (I’ll give you a hint it’s lower then the average)

They have been out shot, out chanced and dominated 5X5 in their last wins, including being dominated at times by the 30th place Buffalo Sabers.

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/schedule.htm?season=20132014&gameType=2

“The first 20 games were an anomaly due to injuries hitting a roster that is paper thin and garbage goaltending. With decent G they would have 5 or 6 more W and would be sitting Nsh, Car and NJ which is a better reflection of where the team is at”

This is a bit of a stretch as well, if you recall last season The Oilers were down to just 2 centers for the most of the year, one which couldn’t lift his arm past his head, the Oilers never had a true number 1 or number 2 center almost all of last year due to injuries.

This season they are actually performing worse.

All the core players are.

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/02/05/has-craig-mactavish-done-better-than-steve-tambellini-did-as-gm-of-the-oilers/

If you can’t see the change in Yakupov’s game the I guess almost everyone including the stats are wrong? https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhMC4T3agcfmdG9OWkZvaVQ4bXJtT3Jub29BcnRsMWc&usp=sharing

Winning is the main thing. Who cares if they get outchanced on occasion?

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#135 2004Z06
February 08 2014, 10:48AM
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Marcus wrote:

BTW, NHL goalies don't get their equipment from Sport Check. Custom made and it's on the way.

https://twitter.com/VaughnHockey/status/425681312754569217

Thanks for the bulletin. I am well aware of how long it takes to get equipment custom made. But it takes days to get a mask painted, not weeks. You can bet he has a spare!

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