GDB 64.0: DRAFT LOTTERY DUEL

Jason Gregor
March 06 2014 03:03PM

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Now that the playoff roster deadline has passed, the focus, unfortunately for Oilers fans, once again turns to the draft lottery.

The Oilers are virtually guaranteed to finish in the bottom five, and unless one of the teams finishing 17th-25th wins the lottery, the Oilers will have another top-five pick.

24  Carolina M 62 27 26 9 63 26 154 175 -21 15-12-5 12-14-4 1-3 3-7-0 Won 1
25  Nashville C 62 26 26 10 62 25 151 188 -37 15-14-4 11-12-6 1-7 3-4-3 Lost 2
26  NY Islanders M 64 24 32 8 56 18 176 217 -41 9-16-8 15-16-0 6-4 3-7-0 Won 1
27  Calgary P 62 24 31 7 55 20 145 186 -41 13-15-3 11-16-4 4-3 6-4-0 Won 1
28  Florida A 62 23 32 7 53 16 152 201 -49 11-13-4 12-19-3 7-5 2-8-0 Lost 1
29  Edmonton P 63 21 34 8 50 19 157 206 -49 11-15-3 10-19-5 2-2 6-2-2 Won 1
30  Buffalo A 61 18 35 8 44 12 124 183 -59 12-17-5 6-18-3 6-4 4-5-1 Lost 1


Tonight's game is critical, if you believe a higher draft spot guarantees the Oilers a better player, because a win puts the Oilers within four points of the Islanders, while a loss puts them eight points back.

Let the race begin.

The Oilers are 6-2-2 in their last ten games, with only Minnesota and Philadelphia picking up more points during that stretch. They've been out shot in 9 of those games, and were tied in the other one, a 3-0 loss to Minnesota.

Ben Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov have been exceptional in goal, and during the two regulation losses the Oilers were shutout out both times. They are winning due to goaltending which hasn't happened regularly in quite some time.

The offence has only scored 10 goals in the last seven games, and their top-six forwards need to play better.

Hall, Eberle, Perron and Yakupov have one goal each over the last seven games, while Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner have none. These six need to start producing goals.

LINEUP

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

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Fraser-Larsen

Scrivens

I like the decision to play Gagner with Hall. The Oilers need Gagner to play well down the stretch for various reasons. If they don't trade him they him need to regain some confidence, and if MacTavish is looking to move him then he needs 89 to play much better. It will be difficult to trade him for anything of value if he keeps struggling, so play him with Hall the rest of the year and hope he gets going.

I thought they might start Fasth. Usually coaches play players against their former team, and with the Kings coming in on Sunday I thought Scrivens would play then, but Eakins said he told Fasth to prepare that he is playing Sunday.

Fasth's last NHL game was November 18th. He missed 37 games with a muscle inflammation/lower body issue, but he did play four games in the AHL in February and told me on Tuesday that he is 100% healthy and ready to play.

It is hard to argue against playing Scrivens because he has been outstanding, so it does make sense to stick with the hot goalie.

Fasth is looking forward to battling for the starting job. "It is good to have two goalies competing for the job. I think it helps a team to have two guys who want to start and are capable of it," he told me Tuesday.

I love his attitude. This team needs more competition. The second line should be competing with the first line for PP and ES time. Same thing on the blueline, and it would refreshing if Fasth's attitude towards competition was embraced by all the players and the organization. 

The management, coaching and the players have to show they don't accept losing. It is easy to say you don't, but actions speak louder than words and it is time that everyone in the franchise displayed a winning attitude.

QUICK HITS...

  • The NHL's decision to lower the Devil's punishment regarding cap circumvention looks awful. Did Lou Lamoriello think this was possible at the 2012 draft, when he elected to keep the 29th overall pick instead of forfeiting it? Maybe, but today that decision still looks foolish. Currently the Devils own the 11th overall pick, and depending how the final 19 games unfold they could forfeit a top-ten pick.

  • Hemsky played junior in Hull, just outside Ottawa, but I don't think that will be enough of a reason for him to not test free agency. This year's crop of free agents forwards isn't very deep, so he could fetch a good contract in July.

  • I wrote above that yesterday was the playoff roster deadline and not the trade deadline. NHL teams can still make trades today, but the players traded aren't eligible for the postseason. If the Oilers and Sabres wanted to make a trade today or next week they could.

  • I don't understand why the NHL only allows four callups from now until the end of the season. The lottery eliminates teams from guaranteeing themselves the first overall pick, but even if they put in a rule that said you could only have three call ups on an NHL roster at one time, baring injury, after the deadline would make more sense.

    The Oilers would like to see Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick, Taylor Fedun, Oscar Klefbom and maybe even Marc Arcobello, but based on the rules only three of them can be recalled, unless the Oilers get into serious injury troubles. (If I read CBA correctly, I think Larsen counts as one -- can anyone confirm? -- which leaves only three recalls left.) If there are only three recalls remaining, then Klefbom, Lander and Pitlick would be the three I'd want to see.

    Playing one or two NHL games can be a great learning tool for young players. It gives them a taste of the league, but more importantly they can find out how challenging the league is and what they need to work on in the off season. Players always tell themselves what they need to work on, but when they actually get to play in a game, they have a better sense of how hard it actually is and what they need to improve on to stay in the NHL.

  • The goalie situation in Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton is very even. Today the Oilers' goalies have 79 career NHL starts, the Flames' duo has 68 career starts while the Canucks tandem has started 59 NHL games.

    Out of those six goalies: Scrivens (51), Fasth (28), Ramo (66), Ortio (2),Markstrom (38) and Lack (21) which one do you think emerges as the best goalie?

  • The Edmonton Oilers need to change their practice habits. Earlier this year Ladislav Smid said he was surprised at how intense the Flames' practices were. Today, after his first practice in Minnesota, Ilya Brzygalov said Minnesota's practices have "a way faster pace." Compile that with Barry Trotz ripping Devan Dubynk's techniques, and Ken Hitchcock saying Magnus Paajarvi needed to learn the game, I'd say this is an organizational issue. Paajarvi, Dubnyk and Smid were all here before Eakins, so the lack of intense practices and attention to detail has been an issue this year and in previous seasons.

    The Oilers, specifically MacTavish and Eakins,  need to listen to these comments from former players, take them to heart and improve the situation. If they don't improve how they practice, it will be hard to improve on game day.

TONIGHT...

fish

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Both of these teams would love to eventually jump into the big boys fish bowl and compete for the playoffs, and tonight the Oilers show they are at least closer to getting there than the Islanders with a 6-1 victory (they have to score at some point).

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: ~The Islanders won't be very competitive.~ Tavares is injured while Vanek and McDonald were traded in the past 48 hours. That is three of their top-six scorers.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers sell out streak ends tonight. Of all the remaining home games none are less attractive to hockey fans than tonight. The surprise is that the Oilers announce that it isn't a sell out.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#151 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 06 2014, 06:26PM
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** wrote:

Same as the number of licks it takes to get to reach the center of a tootsie pop. No one really knows, but they'll sure keep licking.

Oilers management prefers to suck their Tootsie Rolls, not lick them.

So no one really knows, but they'll sure keep.....?

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#152 Rod from Viking
March 06 2014, 07:10PM
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** wrote:

Of course I do, otherwise why bother to post here and follow them?, that would just be torture or stupidity. The Oilers have nowhere to go but up, whereas Vancouver is on full free fall mode. Cheer up though, at least the Canucks can say they know the feeling when it comes to losing game 7 of the Stanley cup. West coast Canada NHL: The little teams that could.

Canucks down 3-0 to the Stars after 1st period, for everything else there's Mastercard.

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#153 Alsker
March 06 2014, 07:41PM
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Looking at our line up, it's obvious that if it ain't broke-don't fix it! Epic. Simply epic.

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#154 Rod from Viking
March 06 2014, 07:47PM
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Alsker wrote:

Looking at our line up, it's obvious that if it ain't broke-don't fix it! Epic. Simply epic.

Where else could you find a defense like that, look on the bright side it has to be improved this summer.

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#155 Alsker
March 06 2014, 07:57PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Where else could you find a defense like that, look on the bright side it has to be improved this summer.

At this point I'm not that optimistic. Pretty sure that's what we said this time last year. Here's hoping.

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#156 Alsker
March 06 2014, 07:57PM
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Holy f*ck, have we got that shorty thing down pat. Must practice it a lot.

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#157 Anton
March 06 2014, 07:58PM
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Gagner made a nice move which became a SH...11th of season.

Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins!

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#158 Jakethesnake
March 06 2014, 07:59PM
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Frieken 89. What a joke. Worse player on the team

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#159 dobiezeke
March 06 2014, 07:59PM
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please lord...let Gagner disappear this summer.

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#160 Alsker
March 06 2014, 08:01PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Call me bad fan....I don't care....after suffering through this brutally crappy year I want a top three pick....GO ISLANDERS!

Samwise with a goal from his knees and we loose 2-1.

Calgary already stole Monahan from us....we need one of Ekblad, Reinhart, or Bennett.

Pretty sure Sam was on his knees praying that wouldn't be a shorty...good call on your part.

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#161 Rob F
March 06 2014, 08:01PM
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Calgary won the other day, buffalo won And we let up a shorty

The plan is coming together

See scrivener disgusted face and 89 and 4 digging it back

Disgusting. With the 1st pick in 4of last 5 years the Edmonton Oilers select..?

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#162 Butters
March 06 2014, 08:02PM
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Alsker wrote:

Holy f*ck, have we got that shorty thing down pat. Must practice it a lot.

They practice it, but not uptempo,

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#163 Anton
March 06 2014, 08:03PM
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The only No.89 plays in C that I remember was Mike Comrie.

Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins!

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#164 Alsker
March 06 2014, 08:06PM
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Another PP, so does Gags get sat for his play(accountability), do we decline it, give the fourth line a shot?

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#165 Alsker
March 06 2014, 08:11PM
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Good job by Perron, no shorty opportunity. Seriously that sucked tho not as bad as our PP does. Dougtheslug hit the nail right on the head.

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#166 Rod from Viking
March 06 2014, 08:13PM
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Anton wrote:

The only No.89 plays in C that I remember was Mike Comrie.

Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins!

How many of the 11 SH goals have been scored with Gagner on the ice?

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#167 Dan
March 06 2014, 08:13PM
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Who put NHL jerseys on these echl teams?

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#168 kale
March 06 2014, 08:14PM
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@dougtheslug

2-0 against a team that has 6 offensive leaders gone...the future looks so bright

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#169 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 06 2014, 08:19PM
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Can anyone help me out.....I can't remember of the five cups the Oilers have won, how many were won on home ice?

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#170 Alsker
March 06 2014, 08:21PM
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4 shots on net at home, and the coaches adjust what? Man I actually miss the MacBlender. Where the hel[ are the guys from OKC? Who cares about AHL playoff crap, get some fresh blood in here and put a little fear into some of these guys here, not to mention add a little pressure to Eakins.

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#171 The Real Scuba Steve
March 06 2014, 08:23PM
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We loosing to the ISLANDERS!!! This is so sad.

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#172 Alsker
March 06 2014, 08:24PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

30 years ago the two top club teams in the world. I remember a time when Oilers-Islanders meant something. How the mighty have fallen!

Those nights of screaming at Billy Smith, cursing Gillies and Potvin, good times, good times. Damn I'm getting old.

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#173 kale
March 06 2014, 08:28PM
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I blame this on the fans, they are not cheering loud enough and supporting the team on their 1-3-1 powerplay

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#174 Butters
March 06 2014, 08:31PM
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Why is Gretzky in town? I missed the interview... Sod(snow) turning for the arena?

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#175 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 06 2014, 08:34PM
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Butters wrote:

Why is Gretzky in town? I missed the interview... Sod(snow) turning for the arena?

All he said was he was here to look after a small piece of business but mostly a pleasure trip, meeting with Dougy Weight who is his neighbour in the summertime.

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#176 Dan
March 06 2014, 08:38PM
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kale wrote:

I blame this on the fans, they are not cheering loud enough and supporting the team on their 1-3-1 powerplay

probably those lousy tier 2 fans again

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#177 dave
March 06 2014, 08:41PM
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Can't they just send Gagner to OKC ?

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#178 jl
March 06 2014, 08:43PM
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Easily the worst run franchise in sport ,

6 rings sat there and had the nerve to compare rebuild 2.0 with the avalanche team that had 3 first in their lineup in the 90s what a joke.

Its going on to rebiuld 3.0 , say what you want but the flames roster out competes this high end talent any day of the week, results matter not a roster on paper, a fit coach, and bold moves

In short we completely suck

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#179 Anton
March 06 2014, 08:43PM
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Maybe Gagner should shoot from blue line more often.

Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins!

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#180 Bonvie
March 06 2014, 08:45PM
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Butters wrote:

Why is Gretzky in town? I missed the interview... Sod(snow) turning for the arena?

He's paying his respects to the tragic loss of the Oilers competitiveness.

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#181 Swish
March 06 2014, 08:48PM
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Only the oilers can make the islanders without Tavares and Vanek look like contenders! What year if the rebuild is it?? Safe to say its not working??

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#182 vetinari
March 06 2014, 08:49PM
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That does it... I'm demoting myself to be a fan of the AHL's Barons... I've watched AHL hockey in the NHL all year long, so I might as well make it official.

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#183 Dog Train
March 06 2014, 10:20PM
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Looks like I picked a good night to miss the first two periods. Exciting finish but we won't continue to win if we continue to play for only 20 minutes a night. I actually think Fraser has really settled down the last few games. His physical play in the 3rd was a bit of a spark if you ask me.

And Scrivens, what a goalie. Obviously that save on Grabner late in regulation stands out but he also made a point blank save (can't remember on who) when it was 2-1 with about 5 minutes left. He gave us a chance to pull one out.

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#184 Oilbaron
March 07 2014, 01:17AM
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Nice to see Hall protect the middle of the ice on the forcheck tonight instead of just gunning it into the offensive zone and leaving a lane wide open behind him like he usually does.

gotta look for the small improvements, of which there are many

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#185 Walter Sobchak
March 07 2014, 04:15AM
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Oilbaron wrote:

seriously stop posting.

did you even watch the game or were you on your computer the whole time?

The team is finally starting to buy in and you want to fire the coach? You must really want McDavid.

I don't think you really understand hockey. This team has not had a real NHL coach since Mac-Tavish, and they haven't had a real GM since I don't know. Now they have both and if you can't see the changes you really aren't looking very hard.

Take a deep breath, everything will be ok. This team will get better

Did you watch the game…………..

The Oilers were outshot again and badly out played for two straight periods.

Scrivens and his remarkable 950 SV % is the ONLY reason the Oiler's won.

Think about those three things for a second............

The Oilers rode luck here.

As for past coach’s……

I suppose Babcock and Holland think so little of Renney that the went out of their minds making him Co-coach of the Red Wings, or Babcock going out of his way to single Krueger out for his contribution to the coaching staff, or Canada hiring Krueger to scout the opposition for them and giving the coaching staff advance scouting and prep work on the other teams systems and players?

Ya………….Terrible coach’s.

This team may get better, but right now, in the present, they are not!

Think about the fans who buy season tickets at 8-K a season over the last 8 season's......... or the fans that purchase Oilers merchandise, food, beer, parking, or those fans that drive hours to game, Take a deep breath of that.

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#186 Smokey
March 07 2014, 08:18AM
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Oilbaron wrote:

seriously stop posting.

did you even watch the game or were you on your computer the whole time?

The team is finally starting to buy in and you want to fire the coach? You must really want McDavid.

I don't think you really understand hockey. This team has not had a real NHL coach since Mac-Tavish, and they haven't had a real GM since I don't know. Now they have both and if you can't see the changes you really aren't looking very hard.

Take a deep breath, everything will be ok. This team will get better

There's no buy in. You could watch the games or look at the underlying stats and realize there lifeless and get outplayed. Last night they never started playing till 5 mins left in the 2nd. You can not honestly believe their bought in with the lifeless play, and continued follies on the pp.

Goaltending is the great equilizer. Ben and Bryz are responsible for this last 10 games. The beat a brutal NY team missing Tavaras, McDonald and Vanek. They got outworked most of the game, and almost coughed up the win except for a great save by Scrivens.

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#187 camdog
March 07 2014, 08:57AM
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Smokey wrote:

Larson is a Karlsson type? He is lucky he is in the NHL. He's playing for a job next year, probably in the KHL.

Larsen reminds me of Grebeshkov. Not this year's Grebeshkov, but the one that was with this team 10 or so years back. Still can't figure out why we wasted that roster spot on Grebs when we had Larsen in the system...

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#188 pkam
March 07 2014, 09:09AM
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I remember earlier in the season when the Oilers outplayed and outshot our opponents but the opponent's goalie, and in some cases the posts, stole them a game, fans here said they would rather have a bad win than a moral victory, didn't they?

I also remember in some games we played great for 40 minutes but poorly for 20 minutes and lost the game, again they said they would rather have a win than a moral victory, didn't they?

Seems like the hockey god granted them their wish. Whether it is good goaltending or luck, we played for 20 minutes and come out with a win. No more moral victories but bad wins, isn't it what fans here wanted? And they are complaining? What should the hockey god do?

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#189 Dave
March 07 2014, 09:12AM
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Rob... wrote:

The article I want is a Willis breakdown of Yak's games lately. I don't know what's going on with him but the last two games he would have been better off stapled to the bench. I really hope he's just working through a bad flu or something. For that matter, I think Eberle has had the same flu for several months now.

OK sure but let us focus in on the biggest goat since Dubnyk left and the fact that Arcobello was mishandled by this organization.

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#190 camdog
March 07 2014, 09:34AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Let's talk Canucks for a minute:

Looking at that team - does anyone reading this think that either the coach or GM should keep his job?

Torts has put the team into full collapse. He has clearly failed and not changed his spots. He should be fired and I bet that is the near unanimous opinion of Canucks fans.

The GM hired torts to a four year contract. Dithered and dithered on his goalies and other players. Still with three years on his deal he too should be terminated.

Has Eakins done any better than torts? The teams play and record sure don't indicate that he has. Why shouldn't he be fired?

I really dislike two things in people - cockiness and incompetence.

Eakins is a cocky incompetent coach.

The Canucks are exactly were I expected them to be this off season. They no longer play in the easiest division in all of hockey, the Sedin's have lost a step and there drafting/development of young players has been horrible over Gillis' regime. Don't matter what coach they hired, this is where most expected them to be...

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#191 camdog
March 07 2014, 09:49AM
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Mike wrote:

I don't know about you guys, but whenever I have had a coach that thinks we are going to win because we are going to have better fitness, it always ends up as sad as this Oilers team.

All the focus is taken away from developing the right skillsets, the teamplay, the positioning etc. Fitness for fitness sake is useless. It needs to have a functional objective. I admit I do not watch their practices but I feel Eakins is one of those coaches. "We are getting outworked therefore we are not fit enough", which probably is not true. Why are we getting outworked? Functional strength? Body positioning? Poors kating technique? Those are more than just fitness.

I don't want to put all the blame on the coach either as the players should know what's missing in their toolbox but the coach has to help them figure out how to fix it.

Eakins entire philosophy to start the season was deeply flawed, from the fitness regime to the swarm. For players like Hemsky, Gagner, Eberle, Perron and RNH it's not just their fitness that limits their ability to play 22 to 25 minutes it's their physical strength as well.

You can have the best fitness in the world, however if you get thrown in the boxing ring, and get pounded on for 2 minutes you are going to get worn out. Of course this doesn't mean you are not in shape. Problem is I don't think Eakins understood this when he took over this team.

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#192 pkam
March 07 2014, 09:49AM
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Dave wrote:

OK sure but let us focus in on the biggest goat since Dubnyk left and the fact that Arcobello was mishandled by this organization.

I believe Acro was sent down to OKC to help them compete for a playoff spot. OKC is very weak in offense and desperately needs offensive help.

I believe the only Oilers forwards that can be sent down there wihtout going thru waiver are Acro and Yak.

If I remember correctly, OKC was 13th in the west conference and 11 points out of playoff before Acro joined them. Now they are 9th and 2 points out (Milwaukee Admirals is 8th with 2 games in hand though).

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#193 merfer
March 07 2014, 09:55AM
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Unfortunately we need a good draft choice this year if we ever plan on being competive with Colorado. McKinnon is a real beast and will only get better. They have been able to draft more domiant players with their recent drafts and I'm not sure we will ever be able to beat them out if we were to reach a conference final. They are definately the team of the future. They look very well positioned to be dominant in two or three years. The Oilers on the other hand look to very far away from just making the playoff, more over making a conference final. Colorado really scares me.

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#194 Mike Modano's Dog
March 07 2014, 10:03AM
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I think what all those instances show is that we haven't had quality organizational management for a long time. It is no wonder that so few of oh. Prospects haven't turned out over the years. If you want change - you have to be willing to change.

The management, from the top on down, all the assistant coaches - all should have to be accountable for that.

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#195 Gk1980
March 07 2014, 12:13PM
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Smokey wrote:

Larson is a Karlsson type? He is lucky he is in the NHL. He's playing for a job next year, probably in the KHL.

Serious? Maybe not a karlson but he is scoring goals, he has potential. I wouldn't give up on this guy just yet.

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#196 Ryan2
March 07 2014, 12:31PM
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It will be interesting to see how high the ceiling is with Marincin. He was dangling the puck nicely last night and is now starting to show his offensive instincts. It is great that they have brought him along slowly. With his combination of size, skill, skating, and hockey sense, he may end up becoming a top pairing d-man that the team is sorely lacking.......

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#197 Walter Sobchak
March 07 2014, 05:06PM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

Don't kid yourself with the 'co-coach', Renny is an assistant coach to one of the best.

I'm not necessarily an Eakins fan, but you put all of the blame on him for anything bad and give him zero credit for anything good. That speaks to your credibility.

I'll take 7-2-2 in the last 11. It's not great, but its progress.

Explain to me where I mention Eakins in that post?

No, Renney is NOT an assistant coach, the Red Wings have those, he IS the co-coach.

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#198 camdog
March 07 2014, 06:35PM
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Ryan2 wrote:

It will be interesting to see how high the ceiling is with Marincin. He was dangling the puck nicely last night and is now starting to show his offensive instincts. It is great that they have brought him along slowly. With his combination of size, skill, skating, and hockey sense, he may end up becoming a top pairing d-man that the team is sorely lacking.......

They didn't really bring him up slowly. They got him up as quick as they could. As to his ceiling well he could potentially end up being the best d-man in the system, with young d-man you just never know.

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#199 Anton
March 08 2014, 02:51AM
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Not to be a buzzkill here, but unless Scrivens is having another demigod like performances that I am expecting another 4 game losing streak.

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#200 Anton
March 08 2014, 02:51AM
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Ah, forgot this:

Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins!

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