WILL HE EVER FIND IT?

For most of us IT is the hardest thing to find in life. We strive for IT, sometimes we have IT, but only briefly, and then we spend countless hours searching for IT again. A few lucky ones find IT and maintain it for years, and just like in pro sports those who have IT are minority.

Can he ever find IT?

He is Devan Dubnyk and IT is consistency.

Dubnyk has been in Edmonton for two and a half years. In 2009 he was recalled after Nikolai Khabibulin’s season ended in November, but he didn’t register his first win until March 19th, 2010. He was in the NHL for four months before he picked up that first win, but he kept battling.

He finished the 2010 season with 16 starts and 19 appearances. He went 4-10-2 with a .889 SV% and a 3.57 GAA. Not great numbers, but not surprising considering how banged up the Oilers were that year.

Last year Dubnyk found his rhythm. He started 33 games, going 12-13-8, with two shutouts, a .916 SV% and a 2.71 GAA. He seemingly found some consistency in his game. In his rookie year he struggled with allowing an "easy" goal every night, or every second night. Last year he gave up the odd weak goal, but it was not a regular occurence.

This year Dubnyk is struggling to find his consistency again. Too often he is allowing a weak goal, and he did it again last night. The Oilers were up 2-0 early in the 2nd period and he allowed a soft shot from Ryan Johansen to slide right under his pad. The Oilers aren’t good enough to overcome a weak goal every 2nd game, and unfortunately for Dubnyk that’s been the case this season.

He was solid v. the Kings on Sunday, but last night he was average.

Dubnyk hasn’t won consecutive starts all season long.  He’s started 17 games going 6-11. In the six games after he won his stats aren’t very good at all.

Date and opponent               GA            SV%       shots faced

Oct 15th v. Vancouver            4              .846               26
Nov 05th @ Phoenix              3              .897               29
Nov 26th @ Colorado           4               .857               28
Dec 07th v. Carolina             5               .848               33
Jan 05th @ St. Louis            4               .892               37
Jan 17th @ Columbus         4               .875               24

Now look at his six wins.

Date and opponent               GA            SV%       shots faced
Oct 09th v. Pittsburgh             1              .971             33
Oct 28th @ Colorado             1              .976             41
Nov 22nd @ Nashville           2              .938             32
Dec 02nd v. Columbus         3               .923            39
Jan 02nd @ Chicago             3              .929            42
Jan 15th . Los Angeles          1             .952             21

In five of his six wins he’s faced 32+ shots, yet in his next game he’s faced 29 or fewer four times and lost. He hasn’t been able to build on a solid effort, and that seems like more of a mental issue than physical. If the Oilers are going to become a contending team, they need Dubnyk to find some consistency, and if he can’t they might have to look at other options this summer.

I’m guessing that Dubnyk will start at least half of the remaining 37 games, and he might start as many as 20. He needs to find some consistency in his games, especially in games after he wins. He is still rather young, when you consider that only five starting goalies are under the age of 27, but unless he shows the Oiler brass he can be consistent and reliable down the stretch, they might start looking in another direction.

When Dubnyk is on, he’s proven he can be an excellent goalie, but this year he hasn’t been able to do that in consecutive games.

He has to find IT soon, or the Oilers might start looking for IT elsewhere.

QUICK HITS

  • After Ryan Nugent-Hopkins caught a rut, fell into the boards and separated his shoulder I mentioned on air that Oilers were in serious need of some divine intervention. A few games later Jordan Eberle went down on a freak run in with Jamie Benn, but last night’s skate-to-the-head of Taylor Hall during warmup took the freak injuries to a new level of unbelievable. Whether you believe in spiritual healing, curses or demons, it is clear that something is hanging over this organization.

    Last week I received an email from Doug. He has been practicing Shamanish for over 11 years and he offered to perform a "cleansing ceremony" on the Oilers dressing room. I haven’t asked Renney his thoughts on the idea, but last night Steve Tambelllini said he didn’t believe in curses. He might not believe in it, but what harm could it do. The Oilers have been plagued by injuries for over three years now. Something has to give and I wonder if a "cleansing" is the way to go? What do you think?

SMITTY, BATTLE OF ALBERTA AND AUTISM

Today on my show  we will help out the Children’s Autism services of Edmonton. They are near the end of  fundraising for their new facility on the west end. Did you know that 1 in 110 kids is now diagnosed with Autism. You can help the centre help these kids and their families, and have a enjoy a fun night out.

AUCTION ITEM

  • Framed and signed Ryan Smyth stick and photo (above).
     
  • Pair of seats to Saturday’s battle of Alberta courtesy of Fred and staff at First Truck Centre.
     
  • $50 in Oiler bucks to use at the game.

Bidding starts at 2 p.m. and ends at 5:45…You can call 780.426.8326 to make a bid. Thanks in advance.

  • smiliegirl15

    The best thing about Dubynk is he is big.

    The worst thing about Dubynk is he is big and clumsy.That’s why he can’t trap the puck,gives out multiple rebounds and can’t stay in front of shooter.

    The fact that management hasn’t done absolutely anything about dealing with our black hole in goal is damning.

  • Bucknuck

    Dubnyk is young and inconsistent. That sounds familiar.

    Goaltenders (and defensemen) usually develop later than forwards. Just ask Tim Thomas (once an Oiler). Goaltending mistakes are terribly obvious, since it ends up in the net.

    I don’t see giving up on him, though I don’t think he is a #1 until he earns some confidence which is hard to do on this team with it’s pathetic defence.

    Dump Khabibulin, and in the summer bring in a solid #1 and lets see if he can give that tender some competition for #1. If I have money on a game, I would prefer to see Dubnyk starting rather than Khabibulin. I can’t see him getting anything except better.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Maybe it’s time for the Oiler players to implement that Official George Costanza 3 pt opposite game plan.

    1) Whatever the coaches game plan is, do the exact opposite.

    2) Only finish checks on the opposition finesse players in an effort to help reduce Oiler injuries.

    3) During the pregame warm ups, shoot pucks from the Oilers side of center ice on the oppositon goaltender warming up.

    ~Then, just sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour.~

  • A-Mc

    is Dan Ellis a guy Edmonton would be interested in as a Khabbi Replacement? He doesnt look to play more than half the games for any one season he’s been in the NHL, but his GAA/SvS% for all years have been pretty decent. Looking at his current price tag, would it be worth a serious consideration?

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      Oilers were well out of a playoff spot before the injuries to RNH, Eberle, Hall, and Gilbert. Whitney has been injured basically all season, so that one is legitimate.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Finding out weather or not double D is capable of providing consistent quality goaltending should be this organizations top priority through the remainder of this season. Starting Khabibulin over fifty percent of the time isn’t helping matters much either. Start Dubnyk 4 out of every five starts the rest of the way . I realize this seems like alot , but it’s time to see if this kid has the fire to stand in there every night and battle .

  • I know I’m late to this party with work and all, but I’ll lay this out there anyways.

    I’m tired of the Dubnyk situation. Either he’s good enough or he’s not. I have yet to see a decent string of games where we could establish he’s got “it”. And this has been going on for how long?

    I defy anyone here to suggest one single NHL team [caveat – that is primarily concerned with winning] where Dubnyk would find a home. My guess is you can’t name one.

    The truth is Devan Dubnyk is only an NHL player due to the fact he’s on one of the few (if only) teams in the NHL that doesn’t consider winning a priority.

    Solid NHL goalies are available every summer. At some point the Oilers are going to think about winning again and Dubnyk will be out of a job.

    I respect the quest to be a pro athlete. But sometimes you just aren’t good enough to get to the next level, and there’s no shame in that. Maybe it’s about time we all admit that Dubnyk never had it.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    I think Fail for Nail is on overdrive. And I still believe next year, barring a season killing lockout the Oilers will be Not Winnin for Mackinnon. The year after that, playoff hockey.

  • If Dubnyk waivers between good and weak on a horrible team, being the last line of defense, how good would he be on a decent team?

    Not every player on the Oil is a bad player or genius.

    I would like to put out there:

    “Flail for Nail”

    or

    “Stinko for Grigorenko”

    or

    “Sinnin’ for MacKinnon”

    or

    “Not Winnin’ for MacKinnon”

    (sorry folks, next year too)