GDB 62.0: AN EYE ON FUTURE.

Nikolai Khabibulin has an injured eye after taking an ice chip in the eye earlier this week. He played on Tuesday, but the "injury" flared up when they returned home and now he has a bit of bleeding in the eye. He was told to take some time off, so Martin Gerber has been recalled on an emergency basis, but there is no reason he should see the ice.

Now is the time the Oilers should hand the reins to Dubnyk, and let him skate with them.

Dubnyk should have been playing more games during the previous two months considering his numbers are significantly better than Khabibulin’s.

Dubnyk has faced an average of 32 shots a game in his 22 games while Khabibulin has faced just over 31 shots per game in his 37. Dubnyk has a 2.78 GAA and .914 SV%, while Khabibulin has a 3.33 GAA and .893 SV%. The numbers clearly favour Dubnyk, and considering he has eight wins to Khabibulin’s ten, in 15 less games, it is obvious he gives the Oilers just as good a chance, if not better, to win.

Whether Khabibulin is out two games or two weeks, the Oilers should give Dubnyk a run of four or five straight starts. They can find out how he handles being a starter, how he prepares himself knowing he will play and ideally if he can handle it. I know a five game stretch isn’t long enough to be certain, but considering how many opportunties the young forwards and D-men have been given this season, why not afford Dubnyk the same luxury?

You can’t say the Dubnyk has only faced lesser lights this season either. He’s played PHX three times, LA, SJ, NSH, ANA and COL twice, and he’s lined up against VAN, ST.L, CBJ, ATL, NYI, MTL and NJ once. With Khabibulin possibly going on the EYE R (I’ll use it before Gene), the Oilers need to SEE what they have in Dubnyk. (God this is too easy…Geno’s head might explode before game time.)

QUICK HITS

  • Tom Renney said Gilbert Brule is a game time decision. I’m not sure why he is so hesitatnt to insert 67 into the lineup, but it looks like he might play tonight. Steve MacIntyre and Linus Omark are definitely out as they spent 45 minutes after practice doing skating drills. Colin Fraser has a sore shoulder after getting crushed by Ryan Wilson, and the 4th line will consist of Jacques and two of either Brule, Fraser or Reddox.
     
  • The Oilers got a break from the schedule maker this weekend, as both the Blues and Bruins will play in Vancouver the night before facing the Oilers. We’ll see if the Oilers can take advantage of some fatigued teams.

WHO IS THE MVP

The Oilers enter the final quarter of the season tonight, and excluding the riveting race for 30th with the Senators, the best battle will come from within the room to see who emerges as team MVP. They haven’t announced the Zane Feldman award for most valuable player since 2008, but here on the NATION we will hand out the awards in April.

MVP– With Ryan Whitney injured it is a two-horse race between Ales Hemsky and Taylor Hall. Hemsky has 41 points to Hall’s 40. If both stay healthy it should be very interesting to see how they fare in the final 20 games. Hall will need to outscore Hemsky to have a reaIistic chance.

BEST D-MAN: Whitney would have won this easily had he stayed healthy, and he’ll probably finish second in voting behind Theo Peckham. Peckham has been steady, but not spectacular. No offence to Teddy Peckman, but him winning the award re-affirms how much work they have to do on the backend.

BEST ROOKIE: I know Jordan Eberle has a slightly higher points per game, 0.68, than Hall’s 0.65, but Hall is the clear winner barring a massive collapse down the stretch. He controls the game more than Eberle, and while these two have great chemistry together I see Hall as the Gretzky and Eberle as the Kurri of these two. ***I’m not suggesting Hall is even close to Gretz, or Eberle to Kurri, but I think the analogy fits.***

UNSUNG HERO: With very little PP time he still is 3rd on the team in goals. Ryan Jones is the obvious choice.

TOP DEFENSIVE FORWARD: On a team that gives up as many goals as the Oilers do it is hard to pick a deserving candidate. I’d lean towards Shawn Horcoff. He plays against most team’s top lines, and he’s still a plus player. He really protected and educated Hall and Eberle early in the season, and the kids have raved about how much Horcoff has helped their game.

MOST POPULAR PLAYER: That would be up to you, but based on how many guys have to wear sweat pants during games now, I’d suggest it might be Hall.

PHUN FRIDAY

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will continue their hot streak at home and down the tired Blues, 4-2. Taylor Hall will take over the team lead in goals, and Ryan Jones will bury another greasy goal.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Our good buddy, Gene Principe, will have a sleepless afternoon trying to figure out which Pun to use regarding Khabibulin’s eye injury. I wonder if he will wear a patch over one eye? Maybe he’ll pull a monocle out of his pocket…Oh the possibilities are endless.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Martin Gerber will arrive in time for the game, but his luggage won’t. He will take warm up wearing Khabibulin’s over-sized equipment. He won’t be able to move very well, and the Oilers will pump lots of rubber past him. This rare pre-game scoring outburst will give the Oiler forwards some confidence and they will bury three goals in the first period. The rare good start will lead to Renney telling his backup that in the future they should allow lots of goals in warm up.

After the game Geno will remark that Renney has a keen EYE for the small details of the game… 

  • encore

    OK personal thought here ….mostly a shadow here just reading the blogs and the responses on here …..but ….ok gotta a small complaint here …why is Gregor and your lucky I capitalized …why is he a writer on this site any longer when he has other obligations ….no wonder we get no real news with the Oil they knew before we did that his is/ was a flake ….
    I have his tweet just after the game ….why would he know anymore then you or I as he is just a spectator like you and me ?

    Hmmmmmm

    Help us RB

    • Bryzarro World

      LOL… Just LOL! I think I just got dumber for reading that. I felt my brain cells imploding but just couldn’t look away. Were you trying to write english and morse code at the same time? … — …

    • positivebrontefan

      Anyone who reads this site noes that the guys put a lot into it. Take a look at Gregors last post with the stats on the last drafts to see for your self.

      I know we are all entitled to our opinion but dude….

      • Wax Man Riley

        I really do look forward to what Gregor has to say I must admit I used to be a follower on Twitter.
        I do come to this site to learn more about the Oil …good, bad or indifferent.
        I really did like the last report by Jason Gregor ….but this evening it really did seem to me as though he had no interest in the Oil by Tweeting about some Fights before the game was over ……………Who should we and I mean you and I believe someone who follows the Oil or someone who hears about he Oil and does some research and acts in the know ?

        • positivebrontefan

          Well I’m not a twitter guy so that puts me out of an unbiased opinion but Jason is a fight fan as well if you have ever listened to his show. I’m guessing once we were down by three he focused his energy other places or he could be in fact multitasking. I know that’s sort of thing is mostly left to women but maybe he’s in touch…you know, with his feminine side.
          Thought I had to throw in a couple of ……to pause for effect.

          • Death Metal Nightmare

            I am sorry I am not in the listening area
            I am not adding the …..for effect its more for the thought time it takes me I am sorry
            the enter button seems more annoying to me thus the ‘….’ I will try to eliminate the thought time from now on
            I do not live in the city I am north of town and I only have CHED or TV
            I am sorry if I misunderstood Jason Gregor and as to him being an Oiler insider

            I really did think you had to be at the games to be an insider
            I guess not eh!

          • positivebrontefan

            No worries I to once lived north of town a couple of hours. Never had tv or nothin. Grew up with the Great Rod Phillips calling the other Great One through the plays. That was back in the days of “I’m Rod Phillips along with Ken Brown from Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton saying so long…bring tears to my eyes dude

          • positivebrontefan

            First don’t get so apologetic. Peeps on here will jump on that $h!t.

            Second don’t stare at the radio, that’s whats giving you the spots in front of your eyes and causing the dots……….

            Anyways I think I know what you mean Rod could paint pictures in your mind with his words.

            Later I’m out.

          • Bryzarro World

            How exactly can you watch radio? LMFAO!

            If you are writing on here then you obviously have the internet. UMMMMMM… you can watch t.v. and LISTEN to the radio on that fancy box that is called a computer but if you are having luck WATCHING radio then go hard.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Went to the game tonight. There was no intensity until 2 minutes left in the third. Not happy with the powerplay again, although I did like seeing PRV on the point. At least it showed something a bit different.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I was thinking the same thing about the refs. Then again, they seemed to like knocking the Oil down all night…. again… and again… and again.

    I saw 2 hits… both by Jacques and one of the only times I have cheered for him. Unfortunately he is growing on me. If you look at him as a 4th liner with skating ability, and take him for that, he isn’t that bad.

    Jackman….just…. Jackman.. Like WTF. Stand up for your players already. Peckham tried and then got thrown out???? Boooooo…

    Why did it take until 2 minutes left in the 3rd for a scrap though? I saw no physical push-back from anyone. (save for Jacques and Peckham)

  • Wax Man Riley

    Inspired by Gregor’s previous hard work on draft results, I wonder if anyone at ON is willing to compile a list of goaltenders who have gotten their first career win or shutout VS the Oil? It could be just another one of those “former Oilers always kill us” theories but I’ve got a feeling that the Oil have a serious knack for making inexperienced goaltenders look WAY better than they actually are.

  • I’m sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for something to happen. Tambellini is the master of suspense. I feel like I’ve been sitting in a strange Danish film festival waiting for the final scene of a movie I no longer understand but am unexplainably thrilled to watch.

    • Dude. Turn the computer off and take a walk outside (your basement). The fresh air will clear your mind and remind you that the Oilers are a minor distraction at best in the greater scheme of things.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    Hemsky = MVP of the team. Hall has been amazing creating chances/using his speed but he’s looked like Bambi out there at the same time. bad 2-on-1 passes, non-finishes, etc… needs to get his balance stronger skating. which is strange since he stays pretty low and bent down. maybe hes too bent down and its over extending his “center”.

    the rest of the awards im down with. fair enough. but then again, does this team even need awards for showing up with 48 points with 20 games left?