RANDOM THOUGHTS

Jason Gregor
March 12 2014 02:01PM

random-thoughts

The Oilers last two victories came from third period comebacks and both times they overcame a two-goal deficit to get the victory. In a span of five days, the Oilers have jumped up into a tie for 7th place with the most victories when trailing heading into the third period.

Granted, they only have five on the season, but the Islanders are first and they only have eight. In another wasted season you have to celebrate every positive achievement, regardless of how minute it seems.

It would be easy to mention that the Oilers have trailed 38 times heading into the final frame, tied for most in the NHL with Florida, and that winning five times isn't a great %, but they have the 7th most victories when trailing after 40 minutes and being top-ten in something is an accomplishment.

The Boston Bruins have the best winning % when trailing after 40 minutes, but it is only .300. The Bruins are 6-13-1. Even the great teams rarely make heroic 3rd period comebacks, so the Oilers should be applauded for doing it twice in three games, especially against the stingy Minnesota Wild.

Prior to last night's loss, the Wild were 21-1-3 when leading after 40 minutes, but the Oilers managed to rebound from an awful first 45 minutes to win the game. It is rare for any team to play great for 60 minutes. It is the most overused and inaccurate cliche in hockey. The Oilers managed to win two of their past three games by playing well for about 15-25 minutes. It isn't ideal, but winning ugly is always better than losing with a solid effort.

The best part about games like last night is watching the emotional rollercoaster of Nation readers. In the first and second period every post in the comment sections is ripping a player, or coach, or system, or Lowe,  or MacTavish and in some cases all of them.

But then Perron scores, followed by Eberle ,and the mood quickly changes. It truly is what makes sports great: the wave of emotion for fans. My wife, who isn't a big sports fan, but will watch most games with me, went upstairs after the first period because, "I can't watch this anymore. I feel for them, but I don't even like hockey that much and it is depressing."

She loves big games. Playoffs, NFL at Lambeau and games like that, so if she is irked watching a regular season game, I can only imagine how you diehards feel. Your loyalty and willingness to sit through game after game is remarkable. Good on you. You deserve unexpected victories like last night.

QUICK HITS...

  • Martin Marincin will need to hit the buffet tour this summer and put some muscle and weight on his lanky frame, but his poise and confidence with the puck is outstanding. He looked like a cagey veteran handling the puck in the offensive zone, dangling around a few Wild defenders to get a good shot on late in the game, and then he made another great play to set up Hall just as the buzzer sounded. The more I watch him, the more he impresses me.

  • Oscar Klefbom looked nervous early on, which is to be expected, but he relaxed as the game went on. He is very strong on the boards. If that is all he does the remainder of the season that will be an upgrade on what we've seen from previous defenders. The Oilers needs more strength and size in the D zone.

  • Compare how hard the Oilers forwards have to work to cycle the puck, to how easy it is for opposing forwards to do it. The Oilers can't break up the cycle, and while size and strength will help that, much of that is sheer effort. The Wild blueline and forward core isn't big like the Blues, Kings, Ducks or Sharks, but they made it very hard for the Oilers to cycle down low. Klefbom and Fraser's size helps, but I still think that collectively the players need to simply work harder in their D zone.

  • I said the Oilers 2nd line needed to produce if they had any hope of winning, and they produced two goals. Hall, Gagner and Perron will score, and if the 2nd line can start producing consistently they could extend their hot streak.

  • The other thing I noticed last night was it looked like Minnesota couldn't handle the pace of the Oilers in the 3rd period, especially when the D-men jumped up in the play. I will watch closer if that becomes the norm or was just a one-off situation.

  • After the Oilers game against the Blues on Thursday, their next five games are against non-playoff teams. They will need to win some of those before their final 10-game death march. In their final 10 games they play the Ducks three times, Sharks twice, Kings, Avalanche, Coyotes, Rangers and the Canucks. Ouch.

YOU WIN, CHARITY WINS

 

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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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#1 geoilersgist
March 12 2014, 02:17PM
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I don't know how they are doing it but like you said - winning is better than losing.

On the note of that death march, I don't think Vancouver can be counted as a tough opponent anymore.

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#2 Shredder
March 12 2014, 02:15PM
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Anyone else find that the Oilers biggest strength was there recent biggest weakness: Goaltending? Don't get me wrong, I think Nuge, Hall, Ebs, Yak, and Perron are great, but I don't think our top 6 is winning us as many games as our new Goaltenders, and our bottom 6 is improved but also not winning us any games. Gregor has said many times that we need a different make up in our top 6 - so that can't be our biggest strength. I don't need to be the guy that says our defense isn't our biggest strength, because it's obvious.

So if Goaltending is our greatest strength, are we building from the net out? I like that idea, but can it really be true?

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#3 They're $hittie
March 12 2014, 02:49PM
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Nuge needs to pick his game up. Not strong enough defensively to not be concerned about his lack of offense for a third year number 1 pick. I believe he will be back to form next year but next year is also when we should get nervous. He will be a great player, but a number one overall pick needs to be that much better.

His and Eberles lack of even strength scoring is something to be worried about going forward.

Hall, Perron and Gagners numbers are all good in relation to their overall production.

EDIT: I am not saying Nuge is not good defensively, just stating it is not super duper yet that we should be a little concerned about his overall game. Need more of both offense and defence.

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#4 Old Timer
March 12 2014, 03:17PM
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I love the way Marincin is playing. His confidence is growing every game. I still have hopes that in three years, with about another 30 lbs of muscle on that frame,he will be the No.1 d-man we've been looking for.

As for Klefbom, keep him here for a couple of more games at least and then back to the AHL for some more seasoning. By this time next year, he could be another important part of the core.

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#5 freelancer
March 12 2014, 02:24PM
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Really good to see at least some semblance of push back from this team. Wonder if any of the kids heard Hemskys remarks.

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#6 Spoils
March 12 2014, 03:13PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Nuge needs to pick his game up. Not strong enough defensively to not be concerned about his lack of offense for a third year number 1 pick. I believe he will be back to form next year but next year is also when we should get nervous. He will be a great player, but a number one overall pick needs to be that much better.

His and Eberles lack of even strength scoring is something to be worried about going forward.

Hall, Perron and Gagners numbers are all good in relation to their overall production.

EDIT: I am not saying Nuge is not good defensively, just stating it is not super duper yet that we should be a little concerned about his overall game. Need more of both offense and defence.

agreed, but he is still only 20

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#7 Jay Gray
March 12 2014, 02:28PM
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The losing has really taken it's toll on us diehards is right. Last week I didn't bother to watch 2 games, which is a big deal considering I have not missed a game on tv or live since all the games have been televised.

But there is some hope, the goaltending has drastically improved. Gone are the days of Dubnyk letting in softies from the blue line. And if Marincin and Klefbom continue to improve the way we all hope, the future is bright. I sure hope so, I've said it many times...it has to happen soon, right?

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#8 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 12 2014, 05:43PM
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What a load of useless information.

How about writing on how poorer the Oilers are doing this season, compared to previous years, or tell us what's wrong with the pp. Tell us all why Dallas Eakins is so much better than Ralph Krueger. Tell us why a few useless victories during this death march is far better than landing Ekblad. Justify that. Don't be just another one of the many turd polishers in this town. So tired of this reverse upward trending crap getting served to us.

Write something truthful, something that'll ruffle some Oiler feathers. Be a wolfe, and not another one of the sheep.

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#9 Walter Sobchak
March 12 2014, 03:05PM
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The Oilers are ridding an extreme amount of luck.

Good on them.

I would like to see it cleaned up though.

You can't be outshot every game & out played most games.

Your goalie will not continue to boast a 940 + SV %

They cannot continue to give 2-1 & 3-1 during the PP

The PP has to start winning games.

The wild are 24-4 entering the 3rd period, should have been a death rattle for the boys.

Like Gregor mentioned the Oilers seem to be ridding strange amount of luck going into the 3rd period.

I wonder if it's because teams are not respecting them enough?

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#10 Ryan2
March 12 2014, 04:42PM
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The biggest factor in the lack of production from Nuge and Eberle right now is......no Taylor Hall. He creates the space they need to do their thing.

Right now management appears to be trying to showcase Gagner (and possibly Perron?) by teaming him with Hall. Take away Hall from Gagner and his production would go back to where it was earlier in the year.

That being said, the old rule of thumb was that players needed to have a full season following a shoulder or knee injury to get back to full speed. This is likely playing a part in Nuge's struggles right now as well.

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#11 Hemmertime
March 12 2014, 07:25PM
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I actually think Losing while playing well and giving GREAT effort is better than winning ugly at this point. Not due to any draft pick reason either. Im just sick and f'in tired of them looking like they dont give 2 sh1ts

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#12 Rob...
March 12 2014, 05:39PM
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Nail seems to be stuck getting into what he thinks is his proper defensive position at both ends of the ice, and ends up being ineffective in regard to the play. Is this Eakin's doing?

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#13 DisappointedFan
March 12 2014, 04:34PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

agreed, but it was the 3rd leading into the fourth year when people turned on Gagner.

reasonable to expect more down the road from a fist overall to a sixth overall,

but also reasonable to expect more sooner.

I think it's reasonable to expect things when a player starts making top dollar salary.

At the end of this year his entry level contract will expire and he will start his contract extension making $6MIL/year...then we can start to ask the harsh questions about his quality of production.

Right now he is doing fairly well, all things considered with this team. But he can definitely do better though...no questions asked.

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#14 Soccer Steve
March 12 2014, 07:07PM
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"They have the 7th most victories when trailing after 40 minutes and being top-ten in something is an accomplishment."

I know you aren't but, come on, you've got to be kidding.

Whatever pathogen of failure this team has released on our city is infecting everyone.

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#15 RexHolez
March 12 2014, 11:19PM
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Hey Jason, can you. for just 1 article, stop trying to rub lipstick on this pig?

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#16 Chris
March 13 2014, 05:01AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

I tell you what would be a breath of fresh air: cease the mindless negativity and post something constructive in the comments section.

Let the cromulence of your morphomemetics embiggen us all.

I second what Derp said even though I had to look up what embiggen meant.

Rex, your constant whining is annoying. If you bothered to pay attention Gregor has been saying for years the make up of this team wasn't good.

I yelled at him a year ago when he said they won't win with all the same type of skilled forwards. Turns out he was right. This team is too small and inexperienced.

Just because you are a negative doesn't mean the writers have to be and every article should be about what isn't right. It has been written often, but if you aren't smart enough to figure that out, do us a favour and stop posting...err whining on here.

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#17 PositivePete
March 13 2014, 05:24AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

What a load of useless information.

How about writing on how poorer the Oilers are doing this season, compared to previous years, or tell us what's wrong with the pp. Tell us all why Dallas Eakins is so much better than Ralph Krueger. Tell us why a few useless victories during this death march is far better than landing Ekblad. Justify that. Don't be just another one of the many turd polishers in this town. So tired of this reverse upward trending crap getting served to us.

Write something truthful, something that'll ruffle some Oiler feathers. Be a wolfe, and not another one of the sheep.

Speaking of useless posts...You just cornered the market on them.

Why would any smart writer make a post on useless wins late in a season? Do you think the organization can tell players to lose on purpose? Should Eakins tell the goalies to let in a few goals so they lose?

The players aren't thinking let's lose some more so we get Ekblad. I'm guessing most don't even know who he is. They focus on the NHL, not junior players.

Posts like yours give smart Oiler fans a bad name.

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#18 CMG30
March 12 2014, 03:45PM
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I have no problem with the Oilers getting lucky and winning a game or two down the stretch. At the beginning of the season they've had some really unlucky bounces. Let it even out.

With the amount of rubber that the Oil let get dumped on their net, the goalies could probably let in 2-3 goals a game and still walk away .940%...

Finally, the new goaltending tandem seems to be the answer but it's still to early for me to be sure. I'm going to reserve judgement until we see the better part of a season.

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#19 Will
March 12 2014, 03:36PM
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Jay Gray wrote:

The losing has really taken it's toll on us diehards is right. Last week I didn't bother to watch 2 games, which is a big deal considering I have not missed a game on tv or live since all the games have been televised.

But there is some hope, the goaltending has drastically improved. Gone are the days of Dubnyk letting in softies from the blue line. And if Marincin and Klefbom continue to improve the way we all hope, the future is bright. I sure hope so, I've said it many times...it has to happen soon, right?

It's slightly better to watch the team lose because they were outplayed, not because the goalie let in some real crap goals.

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#20 They're $hittie
March 12 2014, 03:53PM
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Spoils wrote:

agreed, but he is still only 20

agreed, but it was the 3rd leading into the fourth year when people turned on Gagner.

reasonable to expect more down the road from a fist overall to a sixth overall,

but also reasonable to expect more sooner.

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#21 ubermiguel
March 12 2014, 04:38PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

agreed, but it was the 3rd leading into the fourth year when people turned on Gagner.

reasonable to expect more down the road from a fist overall to a sixth overall,

but also reasonable to expect more sooner.

Gagner really stagnated after his second season. If RNH can improve just a little each year he'll be great by 27. Hoping he has the will and has the teachers to keep him improving.

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#22 @Oilanderp
March 13 2014, 03:51AM
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RexHolez wrote:

Call a spade a spade, and write an article admitting that this rebuild has been a complete failure. It'd be a nice breath of fresh air around here instead of leaving it all up to Robin

I tell you what would be a breath of fresh air: cease the mindless negativity and post something constructive in the comments section.

Let the cromulence of your morphomemetics embiggen us all.

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#23 RexHolez
March 12 2014, 11:23PM
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Call a spade a spade, and write an article admitting that this rebuild has been a complete failure. It'd be a nice breath of fresh air around here instead of leaving it all up to Robin

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#24 Tuningout
March 12 2014, 10:24PM
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My Oilers viewing experience this year has been more along the lines of mrs Gregor. Good on her. You have to wonder how many "kinda sports fans" the Oilers lose out on every year with their play.

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#25 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 12 2014, 10:19PM
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Spoils wrote:

agreed, but he is still only 20

I agree that Nuge is under performing for a third year number one pick. But besides a lack of scoring and a lack of physicality, what is it about the way he's playing that is missing? I can't really tell.

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#26 Toro
March 12 2014, 02:16PM
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Damn gonna be outta town working during that poker tourney but would love to go somehow

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#27 pkam
March 13 2014, 10:44AM
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RexHolez wrote:

Call a spade a spade, and write an article admitting that this rebuild has been a complete failure. It'd be a nice breath of fresh air around here instead of leaving it all up to Robin

The Pens started their rebuild in 2002. They were a playoff team before their rebuild.

They drafted Whitney 5th overall in 2002, MAF 1st overall in 2003, Malkin 2nd overall in 2004, Crosby 1st overall in 2005.

So after drafting 4 top 5 picks 4 years in a row, they finished 29th and drafted Jordan Staal 2nd overall in 2006. Do you consider that rebuild a complete failure too?

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#28 pkam
March 12 2014, 02:23PM
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Last night one team surrendered a 3 goal lead and lost in SO. One team came back from a 3 goal deficit and won in SO. If I ask you to pick one, which one will you choose?

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#29 The Real Scuba Steve
March 12 2014, 07:27PM
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@ JASON GREGOR Your not a diehard?

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#30 BingBong
March 13 2014, 07:16AM
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Regarding the final 10-game "death march", teams at the top of the standings (SJ, Anaheim, etc.) are usually trying harder to not get injured than to win the game at that point in the season.

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#31 Harry
March 13 2014, 04:54PM
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Old Timer wrote:

I love the way Marincin is playing. His confidence is growing every game. I still have hopes that in three years, with about another 30 lbs of muscle on that frame,he will be the No.1 d-man we've been looking for.

As for Klefbom, keep him here for a couple of more games at least and then back to the AHL for some more seasoning. By this time next year, he could be another important part of the core.

As long as hes playing well Klefbom needs to stay in edm.

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