GDB 76.0: This Should be Fun

Jonathan Willis
April 01 2014 04:18PM

800px-US_Navy_030124-N-1328C-510_Navy_dentist_treats_patients_aboard_ship

The San Jose Sharks are one of the best teams in the NHL. They’re in a desperate battle with Anaheim for the Pacific Division crown (and the right not to play Los Angeles in the first round). Big, skilled, and motivated, they have every incentive to win every point from here on out.

The Edmonton Oilers, to borrow from Lowetide, are also a team in the NHL.

Lineup!

800px-Waiting_in_line_at_a_food_store

So the top line’s pretty good, while the fourth line consists of an AHL’er, an AHL’er who is also a defenceman, and whatever body parts still function on banged-up Matt Hendricks. The other lines fall between these two extremes.

The defence is three rookies, an AHL’er, and a pair of mid-tier NHL defencemen.

The Coach

“We’ve got to be desperate, we’ve got to find a way to stay in the games,” said head coach Dallas Eakins, “and eliminate that big head-shaking mistake.” He went on, apparently seriously, to say that the team should be fine if they can do that.

A little later, he talked about having “guys playing out of position, guys that are going to end up playing more minutes than they normally would,” and cast it as an opportunity for these players to show what they can do.

This is a video we’ve seen before. The person talking was different, from Pat Quinn to Tom Renney to Ralph Krueger. Quinn would have thrown in a Barbara Ann Scott reference, Renney would have unmemorably said sensible things, and Krueger would have been unfailingly positive to the point where frustrated fans were begging for him to throw a chair or something.

All of those coaches have been tasked with trying to put the best face on an impossible situation. Now it’s Eakins' turn. The reality, as demonstrated by every other edition of the roster to play these pointless games, is that a whole bunch of these players will prove unequal to the “opportunity.”

Remember Johan Motin and Ryan O’Marra and Alex Plante and Chris Minard and Charles Linglet and Dean Arsene and Liam Reddox and Taylor Chorney and Marc Pouliot and Aaron Johnson and Ryan Potulny and Ryan Stone? Their names are all permanently in the record books as NHL players, which is a whole lot farther than most aspiring hockey players get, but none of them ultimately ended up helping Edmonton in the long-term (that list, btw, is just from the 2009-10 team).

There’s nothing to be done about it for either the coaches or the players; the situation is what it is. Some of the fill-in types playing tonight might be like Colin McDonald (114 NHL games and counting, thank you) and even those who aren’t are fighting to stay in the league just one day longer; these games matter to them but they’re playing in situations they can’t be expected to excel in. The coaching staff has to put a good face on things and talk about development and opportunity and winning jobs; they don’t have a choice either.

The simple truth is this is a hard place for any team to find itself and that the Oilers have been here far, far too often over the last few seasons. The fault for that lies to some degree on the current roster and coaches, but the majority of the culpability lies with the people who made the decisions that resulted in this roster. 

Predictions!

36-Larsen-3

Game day prediction: 5-1 San Jose.

Obvious game day prediction: Edmonton’s defence will cough up pucks and be overrun by San Jose’s big, talented forwards.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Philip Larsen scores his third goal of the season off a nice pass from Will Acton.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 04:21PM
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Circus is back in town boys and girls

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#2 HOFFFF
April 01 2014, 04:23PM
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We could win 8-0....it just doesn't matter anymore. Oiler Fans are beat up.

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#3 Mason Storm
April 01 2014, 04:33PM
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Do you think when McT heads to TSN for the oilers annual appearance in the draft lottery, that they'll have a special addition of the quiz? Even brings Torts in, he'll be unemployed then.

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#4 Tikkanese
April 01 2014, 04:33PM
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I hope Scrivens ate his Wheaties this morning because the Sharks could easily break the NHL record for shots in a game with that lineup.

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#5 Spydyr
April 01 2014, 04:34PM
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For entertainment value I hope something like this happens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QvjmvjWFcnw

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#6 Dog Train
April 01 2014, 04:42PM
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This is going to be a long 7 games.

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#7 vetinari
April 01 2014, 04:48PM
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Might as well be playing real sharks tonight... the odds of a win would be better.

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#8 tileguy
April 01 2014, 05:00PM
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Jonathan, do you think the oilers will try tonight or just mail it in to secure the 2nd overall pick?

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#9 tileguy
April 01 2014, 05:04PM
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And please lets not use injuries as an excuse, tonights lineup is no different than what we have seen all season except Lander for Yak.

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#10 MGD
April 01 2014, 05:18PM
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Spydyr wrote:

For entertainment value I hope something like this happens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QvjmvjWFcnw

Well, if Big Joe gets 4 goals, he'll be pulling SOMETHING out of his sock!!!

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#11 Joel
April 01 2014, 05:27PM
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Who knows where the Oilers will be picking this draft.

http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/buffalo-sabres-locked-in-for-30th-but-not-first-pick-in-draft/

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#12 Shaun Doe
April 01 2014, 05:30PM
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vetinari wrote:

Might as well be playing real sharks tonight... the odds of a win would be better.

With real Sharks all you have to do is punch them in the nose to win. Sadly, this team just lost one of the only guys willing to do that to win.

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#13 Brian
April 01 2014, 05:36PM
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Of course I'll watch the debacle that will unfold. It's like a bad wreck you can't take your eyes off.

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#14 Retsinnab5
April 01 2014, 05:41PM
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You know what the sad thing is? We have Oscar Klefbom with only 10 games of NHL experience expected to play top pairing D against one of the best teams in the league!!!

That just makes me sad :(

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#15 admiralmark
April 01 2014, 05:42PM
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Lets see how can I best put this in words? ... All I can say is this is one of those nights I wish I owned more San Jose Sharks in my hockey pool.

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#16 Oiler Al
April 01 2014, 05:44PM
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Ladies and Gentlemen, tonites line up of the Edmonton Oilers, courtesy of Kevin Lowe.

Sit back and enjoy the game!

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#17 admiralmark
April 01 2014, 05:46PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

You know what the sad thing is? We have Oscar Klefbom with only 10 games of NHL experience expected to play top pairing D against one of the best teams in the league!!!

That just makes me sad :(

Whats sad is this is not an anomaly. It's actually the preferred method Oilers use to develop their young players. Put them in the positions where they will almost certainly fail. Shelter Schmelter I think is the motto?

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#18 a lg dubl dubl
April 01 2014, 05:50PM
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Mason Storm wrote:

Do you think when McT heads to TSN for the oilers annual appearance in the draft lottery, that they'll have a special addition of the quiz? Even brings Torts in, he'll be unemployed then.

Actually I wouldn't mind Torts being the assistant coach with HC experience that Eakins needs, He could be the guy to yell and actually hold all the players accountable for how they play on the ice. Kinda like what Eakins said waaaaay back in the pre-season but actually stay true to his word. Plus Torterella has won a cup too.

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#19 hockey fan 1976
April 01 2014, 06:00PM
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The Oilers will make the playoffs next year.......April's Fool hahahahahaahah!!!!

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#20 TheresAlwaysNextYear
April 01 2014, 06:00PM
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I'm slowly starting to cheer for the Calgary Flames. Must be something wrong with me.

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#21 #ThereGoesTheOilers
April 01 2014, 06:00PM
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Here, come play a game against San Jose with Edmonton!

...

Some opportunity that is.

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#22 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 06:01PM
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I have never wanted the flames to win a hockey game more than I do tonight! and this is the only game im watching tonight

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#23 #ThereGoesTheOilers
April 01 2014, 06:05PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I have never wanted the flames to win a hockey game more than I do tonight! and this is the only game im watching tonight

Schadenfreude.

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#24 Serious Gord
April 01 2014, 06:12PM
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vetinari wrote:

Might as well be playing real sharks tonight... the odds of a win would be better.

...with frickin' laser beams!!

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#25 Serious Gord
April 01 2014, 06:15PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

Actually I wouldn't mind Torts being the assistant coach with HC experience that Eakins needs, He could be the guy to yell and actually hold all the players accountable for how they play on the ice. Kinda like what Eakins said waaaaay back in the pre-season but actually stay true to his word. Plus Torterella has won a cup too.

Are you on crack? Do you actually think torts would willingly be an assistant to Eakins? He may be a wingnut, but he has some self-respect.

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#26 mr_nihilism
April 01 2014, 06:31PM
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I'll curl up and watch House of Cards on Netflix. Oilers will lose and even if they don't lose they still lose. I'll regain interest in the team around the time of the draft.

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#27 mlcselli
April 01 2014, 06:40PM
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This game will be the April Fools Joke

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#28 a lg dubl dubl
April 01 2014, 07:02PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Are you on crack? Do you actually think torts would willingly be an assistant to Eakins? He may be a wingnut, but he has some self-respect.

do you think any other former HC would be willing to be an assistant coach?

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#29 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 07:07PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

do you think any other former HC would be willing to be an assistant coach?

How about Tom Renney?

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#30 Stack Pad Save
April 01 2014, 07:13PM
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RexHolez wrote:

How about Tom Renney?

The saddest thing, I am wishing we had Renny back. I had a pitchfork chasing him out of town. It seemed right at the time. Now, where is my pitch fork .....

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#31 vetinari
April 01 2014, 07:14PM
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RexHolez wrote:

How about Tom Renney?

Gave you a props on that one but in all fairness, that's an AC to Mike Babcock...

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#32 Rick Stroppel
April 01 2014, 07:16PM
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RexHolez wrote:

How about Tom Renney?

Or Jim Playfair or Tony Granato...with the the same team where they used to be HC.

The original point is valid. Tortorella is a loudmouth, bulllying, sarcastic jackass who would never agree to be an "assistant" to anyone.

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#33 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 07:29PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

The saddest thing, I am wishing we had Renny back. I had a pitchfork chasing him out of town. It seemed right at the time. Now, where is my pitch fork .....

I miss Quinn and Krueger and anyone else who ever coached here

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#34 TheresAlwaysNextYear
April 01 2014, 07:30PM
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the more I see Joe Colbourne, the more i wish the Oilers acquired him. He would look good on our first or 2nd line.

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#35 Gk1980
April 01 2014, 07:32PM
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Oh man! What are the actual odds of the oilers winning tonight? Anyone have some real numbers?

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I just read the ad that that Jay Brown dude took out. What an idiot. He doesn't even know the origin of "City of Champions". What a dumbass. I bet it was Debrusk.

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#37 vetinari
April 01 2014, 07:32PM
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By the way, what's our likelihood of another SH goal against tonight? Given our lineup, I'm predicting at least one.

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#38 Batfink
April 01 2014, 07:33PM
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I can't wait for Jumbo Joe to mail it in in the play-offs. I hear him and Paddy Marlaeu take their golf clubs to every game 7. If they're not swept.

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#39 Al Low
April 01 2014, 07:37PM
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It's amazing to see that Sam Gagner's the only guy left from that abysmal 2009-2010 team. The lack of continuity in players (in addition to coaching) is part of the problem here in Oil Country. I'm not saying we should have kept that roster but there's a few useful parts there that could have helped some of the young core develop and mature.

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#40 Danoilerfanincalgary
April 01 2014, 07:40PM
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It is like a horror movie when I was a kid watching through my fingers and hand when things got too scary. C'mon Oilers don't embarrass yourselves or your fans give the Sharks your best effort.

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#41 Gk1980
April 01 2014, 07:41PM
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The goal tonight is to not embarrass themselves. They will lose, bit maybe just maybe they can keep the shots respectable and the goals down. Maybe.

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#42 Derian Hatcher
April 01 2014, 07:42PM
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@Rick Stroppel

I have an idea that would not help the team one bit but would be incredibly entertaining...bring in Mike Kelly (ex Eskimo OC and Blue Bomber HC) to work with Eakins. I know Kelly coached an entirely different sport, but really how much more harm could be done ?? And the best part, just picture the post game pressers where the two egomaniacs would be jostling to get in front of the cameras and microphones to tell the fans exactly what is wrong with the team and how the two clever coaches are going to improve the team.

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#43 vetinari
April 01 2014, 07:52PM
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Derian Hatcher wrote:

I have an idea that would not help the team one bit but would be incredibly entertaining...bring in Mike Kelly (ex Eskimo OC and Blue Bomber HC) to work with Eakins. I know Kelly coached an entirely different sport, but really how much more harm could be done ?? And the best part, just picture the post game pressers where the two egomaniacs would be jostling to get in front of the cameras and microphones to tell the fans exactly what is wrong with the team and how the two clever coaches are going to improve the team.

Speaking of football, this was on the Riders' site today and the last paragraph of the story pertains to the Oilers--

http://www.riderville.com/article/gainer-pursued-by-redblacks

;-)

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#44 Retsinnab5
April 01 2014, 07:56PM
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TheresAlwaysNextYear wrote:

I'm slowly starting to cheer for the Calgary Flames. Must be something wrong with me.

Only against the Canucks for me.

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#45 2015 Playoffs? Nope!
April 01 2014, 08:03PM
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Gk1980 wrote:

Oh man! What are the actual odds of the oilers winning tonight? Anyone have some real numbers?

Yes. The actual numbers are 10000000000 to 1.

100% chance Sharks win tonight

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#46 2015 Playoffs? Nope!
April 01 2014, 08:04PM
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vetinari wrote:

By the way, what's our likelihood of another SH goal against tonight? Given our lineup, I'm predicting at least one.

Again, the real numbers suggest there is over 100% chance that at least two SH goals against tonight.

I'd bet on 3 or more though.

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#47 @Oilanderp
April 01 2014, 08:07PM
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10-6 for the Oilers, until the Sharks come out for their warmup too.

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#48 Bryan in SK
April 01 2014, 08:15PM
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You actually think we'll get one tonight, JW?

We'll see.

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#49 Serious Gord
April 01 2014, 08:19PM
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@a lg dubl dubl

No one any good that's for sure.

And would any proven hc come and work under mact, Lowe and Katz?

Once wang sells the nyi and Garth snow is removed, edm will have the worst ownership/management group in the nhl.

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#50 Brian
April 01 2014, 08:23PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

Or Jim Playfair or Tony Granato...with the the same team where they used to be HC.

The original point is valid. Tortorella is a loudmouth, bulllying, sarcastic jackass who would never agree to be an "assistant" to anyone.

What you said about Torts is correct. But as LT would say in his best girlish, child-like voice "OH MY GOD" it would be fun to watch.

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