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 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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#2 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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#3 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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#4 Dog Train
April 01 2014, 04:42PM
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This is going to be a long 7 games.

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#5 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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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 04:21PM
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Circus is back in town boys and girls

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#10 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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#11 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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#12 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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#14 kale
April 01 2014, 10:17PM
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Eakins should be fired just for not playing nuge, hall and eberle together earlier, especially when he makes the comment that he knows they can do damage when they play together...also, notice how ineffective Gagner is when he does not play with Hall or Eberle, I wonder how many points he would have if he did not play with them this year

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#15 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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#16 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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#17 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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#18 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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#19 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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#21 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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#22 admiralmark
April 01 2014, 11:15PM
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Perron cost the game with his inopportune lazy penalties. Also, i've seen enough of Gagner for a lifetime. I pray somehow he is not on the team next year.

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#23 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 11:23PM
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Atleast tonight's game gives our media somthing to work with when they try to tell us how good they are. Haven't seen anyone so excited about a loss. Yay they played a game without getting completely blown out! Plan the parade!!!

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#24 dougtheslug
April 01 2014, 10:14PM
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Gk1980 wrote:

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.

Mission accomplished

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#25 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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#26 Gk1980
April 01 2014, 10:50PM
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I like belovs game, he is a monster out there tonight. Fraser needs to go.

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#27 #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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#28 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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#29 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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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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#31 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 08:25PM
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Tonight Larsen on the wing... Next game Eager's getting called up to play defence!

It's part of the swarm... To confuse and amuse

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#32 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 11:16PM
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These guys are gonna win the cup next year!!!

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#33 Burnward
April 01 2014, 11:18PM
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Hey, they actually tried tonight! Moral victories.

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#34 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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#35 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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#36 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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#37 mlcselli
April 01 2014, 06:40PM
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This game will be the April Fools Joke

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#38 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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#39 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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#40 Oiler Al
April 01 2014, 11:31PM
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At least they looked like they belong in the same league as the Sharks.

Was a great effort by the first line, and so it should be.. your best players , play the best game. Great to see Nuge out of his funk. This line should have stayed together all season long. Idiot coach.

To bad no scoring from the rest of the team,or defense, could have won this one.

Penalty kill was solid. Perron needs to grow up. Taking penalities like a peewee.

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#41 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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#42 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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#43 Rod from Viking
April 01 2014, 11:16PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Well that was fun while it lasted.

Fought back, Nuge has a break out game and don't lose draft position. David 57 has to cut down on bad penalties.

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#44 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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#45 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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#46 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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#47 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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#48 @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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#49 Serious Gord
April 01 2014, 11:22PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Awfully impressive game by the Oilers through 50 minutes.

They deserve an awful lot of credit for what they've done so far.

Sort of. The big three playing well. Scrivens not so much. The other lines disappeared.

I've seen it more than once - San Jose sometimes gets away from their winning gameplan - physical puck possession hockey. How many hits did we see tonight?

The sharks got Lured (no pun intended) into a bit of a run and gun game and their defense got exposed for being slow and not that good at handling the rush - especially one as potent as the big three can deliver. This has been a flaw of the sharks for years going back to when the oil beat them in the playoffs when iPhones weren't invented.

Tomorrow they play the kings and I doubt that the kings will deviate from the physical grinding play that works for them. Could be a very different story for the oil.

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#50 #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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