GDB 76.0: This Should be Fun

Jonathan Willis
April 01 2014 04:18PM

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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, Sportsnet, 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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#51 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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#52 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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#53 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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#54 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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#55 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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#56 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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#57 Brian
April 01 2014, 08:47PM
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What took them so long?

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#58 Walter Sobchak
April 01 2014, 08:57PM
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Over under on SOG?

I got $15 on SJS getting 50+

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#59 kale
April 01 2014, 11:18PM
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RexHolez wrote:

These guys are gonna win the cup next year!!!

Lol are you the real Jay Brown (joking)

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#60 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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#61 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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#62 TheresAlwaysNextYear
April 01 2014, 09:03PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Over under on SOG?

I got $15 on SJS getting 50+

i predict 42-24 sharks

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#63 Gk1980
April 01 2014, 10:06PM
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Wow, oilers put together a few good shifts. Nice to see.

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#64 Gk1980
April 01 2014, 10:47PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Mission accomplished

Agreed! Boys don't look bad tonight. Or is San Jose just playing that bad? Million dollar question.

Scrivens is in San Jose head

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#65 BobbyCanuck
April 02 2014, 10:02AM
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admiralmark wrote:

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.

And now you know why St. Louis felt that Perron was expendable. Don't get me wrong, I like what he brings to the Oilers

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#66 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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#67 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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#68 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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#69 Mason Storm
April 01 2014, 10:09PM
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Wham bam what the f*ck just happened?

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#70 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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#71 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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